Want to know how you can save time and money on your website? Here are some tips.
- Be prepared
- Create a flow chart
- Create some content
- Have a design in mind
As a web designer it makes for a very smooth process when my clients are already prepared with what they want on their website. While this is not required it does help. If you know you want a website (because every business needs a website 🙂 ) but have no clue as to where to start, no worries, here are some ideas.
Most of you already have a business going when you get to the point of wanting a website. Now you’ve got to figure out what you can do to use a website to make your business even better. Being prepared will make it possible for your web designer to complete your site faster and for less money.
First, come up with a domain name, or multiple, and get it registered. I recommend 1and1.com for that.
Second, think of what you want to use your website for. Will it be a way to generate leads? Are you going to sell something online? Do you want to use it to provide valuable information to potential client? Or do you just want it to add some extra credibility to your business? The possibilities are endless.
Create a Flow Chart
Now that you’ve got an idea of what the purpose of your website is, create a flow chart. Think of what pages you’ll be including on the site. Is it going to be a one-page site? or multiple. A common example is: Home, Services, About Us, Contact Us. Depending on your intention, other pages might be Shop, Downloads, Portfolio, Blog, Events, Calendar, Register, Links, etc. Your flow chart might also include sub-categories, with drop-down menus. Shop might drop down to the different types of products being sold.
Once you’ve got your flow chart, it’s time to think of what your going to fill all those pages with.
Create Some Content
What statement do you want to make on your home page? This is the most important part of your site because it’s the first thing people see. Sometimes the shorter it is the better. Regardless of what is on the front page it’s important to make it clear and defining. Make it easy for your potential client to figure out where to go from here. What is your call to action? If you want them to buy something, make that clear. If you want them to contact you, make it obvious, and give them a compelling reason to want to contact you. There is no right and wrong to what you should do with your website, just make your intentions clear to your visitors.
Now, moving on to creating content. Using your flow chart as an outline come up with content for each page. Create an “about us” or “mission statement” for the site. Write up a description of the services you offer. Put together some images to go into your portfolio, etc.
If you don’t know what to put on each page, that’s okay. You can consult with your web designer, marketer, brander or even business associates for ideas. You may not have the time or desire to come up with all this content, that’s okay too, find someone else.
Have a Design in Mind
What do you want your website to look like? What colors do you want to use? Do you want a 1, 2, or 3-column layout, or something completely different? It’s often helpful to look around at other websites and come up with a list of websites that have a design and look similar to what you want your website to look like. You want may even want to draw up a quick sketch of what you have in mind.
The most important reason why you should be prepared for your website is so that your are happy with the finished product. A web designer can easily create what he/she feels is a great website, but what if you don’t like it? The more prepared you are the easier it is for your web designer to create a website you’ll love. This doesn’t mean that your web designer should sit back and leave all the creative thinking to you, but when you come in with a plan, your designer can look it over and provide suggestions and build upon your ideas to make the site even better.