With the New Year fast approaching, is it time to apply some New Year's resolutions to your website?
We all make the same New Year's resolutions to ourselves – join the gym, take up a new hobby, cut down on screen time – but how about resolutions for our business and, in particular, our website?
Often websites get left on the back burner if business is busy. But what does a “good website” mean? Is it something that looks great and modern? Does it reflect your brand in the way you want it to? Is it easy for your customers to use regardless of which device they are using? Does it do the job that you want it to do?
At the first stage of every website development project, we ask our customers three distinct questions:
Once you are clear on these answers, we can take the next steps into developing your brand-new website.
When working on any new website project, we take the time to ensure that we know your business inside and out. We want to know your shared goals and understand what your business does, and what they expect.
We don’t just jump in and start coding – and we would be wary of any developer who does. Our unique approach allows us to work collaboratively with you to produce a detailed specification which will detail not only what we are going to do, but how we are going to do it.
So what details do you need to consider before starting your web development?
Let’s take a look…
Developing a new website isn’t simply picking out a design template that looks great – it’s about supporting your core business functionality. You can choose to use either an ‘off the shelf’ package whereby you benefit from existing templates/modules or you can choose to have something built entirely to your own specifications and business needs.
Great websites need great content. There’s no doubt about that. But whether you are going for a less-is-more approach, or you’re rivalling War and Peace, you need to ensure that your website text is both relevant and interesting to your audience.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the number of pages your website needs – after all, everything depends on your own individual business. Yet, often many businesses leave the valuable content of their site to the last minute and underestimate how much time it takes to source, collate, write and proof read every single page.
You may also wish to consider other types of content you could use to bring your business to life; it’s not just about the written word; images, videos, audio and downloadable resources are also great ways of demonstrating the value of your brand.
Customers love being able to purchase their items online, so with a lack of personal contact, it's important to give them a great experience from the moment they put their item into their basket through to the second they complete their checkout.
Adding an e-commerce section to your website can be relatively straightforward but there are so many different elements which could be customised, you may need to think about how you want your online shop to function. Do you need your templates to match your business branding? Will you need to incorporate a stock control function? How do you plan to take payments? The list might be endless but taking a few moments to think about how you want your shop to operate could make the world of difference to your business.
The proof of any great website is the customer experience – we’re sure you don’t need us to remind you that no matter what size your business is, you always need to consider your audience. Usability is crucial to the success of your website, so a vital stage of the website build is the testing process. We don’t just say that because it’s one of our services – its because without knowing how your customers are using your site, you cannot tell if it's working in the most effective way possible.
In any project, there will always be last minute requests to make changes. But what may seem a small tweak to you, could in fact cause a real headache behind the scenes. Therefore, it’s so important to get the initial specification right from the start. It’s also why we build such strong relationships with our clients – when we know their business as well as we do, we can not only anticipate any changes, we can also suggest our own improvements as we go along.
If you’re not 100% happy with what is being suggested from the very start, it could rapidly change the amount of time it takes to complete the project and significantly increase your costs.
For most businesses, their website is a showcase of their brand – it not only reflects what they do, but it is often a first port of call for new customers or perhaps an extension of their offline offering. If you’re looking for a new website, then take your time to research the ability of your web developer.
It's not just about finding that perfect blend – the person with the right skills to bring your vision to life, and the person with whom you can build a great working relationship. Websites can be complex so you need to have total trust that you have appointed the right person or team.
We would always recommend checking out their portfolio and speaking with any customers – of course we’re always happy to introduce you to any of our clients to find out more about our work.