At Bustle Creative, I love the excitement that comes from creating and launching a new website. Its easy to get caught up in the branding and building, but long before we get into the work, there are some things that need to be sorted out.
There’s a lot of work that goes into a new site, so to make sure we’re heading toward the same goal, let’s nail down some basics.
1. What is the goal of your website?
Websites are designed for function and not looks. Its always a good idea to have both, but first, we need to start with a goal in mind. Clarifying the purpose of your website will help determine which features and functions to include. Before spending hours of research and work, I’ll need to know why you’re building a new website. So, what is the purpose of your website?
Selling a product?
Showcasing expertise and driving more leads?
Rebranding and looking to reach a wider audience?
Take a look at these common goals and how they translate into website features:
landing pages, e-commerce, user-friendly design, SEO, variety of products, services, and bundles to purchase, address objections, build rapport with great copy, clear calls to action, increase conversion rates with well placed opt-ins, prominently placed contact info and contact form, E-mail newsletters, live chat box, webinars, videos, limited time offers,
Showcase expertise in a niche
SEO and keywords, webinars, providing exceptional and knowledgable articles, videos, resources and content. Regularly updating and adding new content. Establishing know, like, and trust. Social media and online marketing campaigns, blogging.
Build your brand
Functions: Active social media strategy, reputation management, special events, promos, closely adhere to brand standards in website and all collateral, network with industry leaders, publish on other platforms.
2. Who is your audience?
This can be a tough question. You may initially want everyone to be your potential customer, but marketing to everyone is marketing to no one. Identifying who the site is for will improve your conversion rates and boost your reach. A business to business site will have a very different layout, writing style, and images compared to, say, a site for a local photographer or restaurant.
To build an effective site for your business and audience, take the time to consider who your target audience is and what is important to them. For example, A millennial may be interested in a mobile site with lots of social media integration or a mobile app. An older retiree may require simple layouts and legible text.
3. What is your timeline?
I know, you needed your site up and running months ago and every day that passes you’re missing out on new opportunities so let’s address the project timeline. If you have a firm launch date, then you’ll need to work closely with your designer to hit project milestones to keep the site development on schedule.
A custom agency website design can take between 4-8 weeks or more. The Bustle Creative Web Suite package takes only 30 days from concept to new site, getting you online faster. Now that you have your timeline determined, let’s move onto question 4.
4. Do you have content prepped?
Whether you’re working with a large agency that does all the work in-house (for a steep price) or an independent designer/ developer, like me, we’ll need to know if you already have content prepared. Take the time to sort through your content, and collect all articles, written content, photography, graphics, and your logo and send to your designer.
Your designer should have a system in place for sending files and collaborating. I like to use Asana project management system.
If you have the natives (original design files) in .psd, .eps, then please send the original copies. Coming into a new web design project with all content prepped and all original files organized will save time and cut down on unexpected custom design costs, such as redesigning a blurry logo.
If you need some help fleshing out your site’s written content, then check out the Website Copy Cure below and sign up for your Free guide. I put together this resource to dig deeper into your purpose, audience, and mission and bring it all together in a neat outline for your website.
5. What’s your style?
Now that we know the goal of the site, the features, who its built for and have some content files prepped, the next step is to uncover your style. You don’t have to take too much time on this task or learn all about color psychology and typography, but you do have to know which designs light you up. Take a look at several websites in your niche and outside and see which trends you are drawn to. Examine the design and the usability of each and see which you like to use and the style you prefer. You may want to start a Pintrest board of your favorite designs or email yourself a link with a screenshot for reference.
To go deeper into your style. let’s touch on branding. Branding is all about how you make your customer’s feel when they interact with you so let’s make a great first impression through design. What does your design say about your brand? What would you like your design to convey? Is it professional, playful, luxurious, or conservative? If your business was hosting an event, what type of event would it be? A VIP red carpet photo-op or a local block party?
Identifying your brand’s personality and style will bring form to function and ensure your designer is building a site that both you and your audience will love. Now that we’ve got these details nailed down, we can get onto building your site.
So tell me in the comments below, can you answer all 5 questions?
Which are you working on right now?