Three things you should do before creating a website for your business
By now, we all know that the Internet is not going anywhere and we are only going to see it expand.
Before making a buying decision, 87 percent of people conduct research online, according to new research from Salesforce and Publicis.Sapient.
If your business does not have a website, you could be missing opportunities to gain new clients. But it’s not enough to just throw some words, photos and graphics on the internet and call it good. To be effective, a website needs a strategy.
That strategy should start even before you begin the website design process.
Here are three things you should do before you design your website:
1. Establish your brand
A cohesive brand builds trust, loyalty and creates recognition. I talk more about this on my previous post, Why Branding Matters. A brand also drives perceived value, meaning that a well-branded business can command higher prices than one that isn’t. You may have seen the photo of a white paper coffee cup next to a Starbucks cup. Above the blank one is $1.25. Above the Starbucks cup is $4.50.
The reason Starbucks can charge $3.25 more for a cup of coffee than a generic brand is because of the work it has done to establish its brand and distinguish itself from the competition.
Branding is an investment of either time or money (or both), but it will have a great return in the long term. So don’t skip this step before you dive into a website. Otherwise you may find yourself redoing your site later after you decide to brand.
My free quiz will help you determine if you have done the branding work necessary to start the website process. Then I break down the next steps that are right for you.
2. Pick your platform.
It used to be, you had to hire a developer to code your website into existence. Now, we have a multitude of online platforms available for business owners at all levels of complexity. I keep hearing of new ones every day.
I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all platform. All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. Many of them are tailored for a specific type of business. Before you pick a platform, make sure you do your research to know which one will work best for your business. Take advantage of free trials to test them out. Some platforms might seem great from the outside, but when you get in and actually use them, they don’t work for your brain. You don’t know that unless you try them.
I wrote about three popular website platforms in a recent series called Which website platform is right for you? I covered Wordpress, Wix and Squarespace. These are just a small sliver of what is available.
3. Write your copy. (Or hire someone to do it)
Your website copy is the words that are on your website. Have you ever been on a site that has virtually no words? You know, those sites that are just pretty collages of photos? I’m all for beauty, but a website needs clarity, and your copy is a major part of bringing clarity. It is crucial that someone who visits immediately understands who are, what you do and who you serve. They need to understand what problem you solve for them. I talk more about this in my post, Why Your Website Copy is Crucial.
There is a side benefit here as well. Search engines can’t crawl images as well. And if there is no text, they don’t have much to read. So copy helps potential clients find your website.
There is a balance here. You don’t want so much copy that no one will read it. If your website requires a lot of explanation, make sure you format it a way that breaks it up and is visually appealing.
If writing isn’t your thing, by all means, hire someone who is an expert to do it. (Hey, it just so happens, that’s me!)
Once you have done the three things above, you are ready to dive into your website project. Whether you DIY it or hire a designer, these steps will make your website project go smoother. They will also result in a better website that gets your business the results you want.
So are you ready for a website? Hey, couldn’t hurt to take my free quiz to make sure.