Back to basics: 5 key things to consider before starting your website

Starting your website

So you want a website and you want it now. There are alot of easy ‘web page builders’ out there these days which allow you to create your website using the drag and drop method. That’s fine if you need to launch your site in a day without giving it any thought, but do you really want to find out down the track that your site isn’t getting any visitors because there was no thought given to your audience, your content or even your SEO rankings? We take a look at 5 key things to always consider before starting your website : a Throwback Thursday to websites before the easy route was introduced.

1. Branding
Let’s start with branding. If you don’t already have a brand in place then its high time you have one before starting a website. We’re not just talking about a logo, we are talking about everything a brand stands for. From the use of colours to the use of typography to even the style of photography or elements used within your brand.  Having these ever-encompassing guides in place will provide a brand identity for your website and in return create a brand experience for the user when visiting your site. Think of it like a warm comforting blanket for the user when they go from seeing your business cards or brochures, or stumbling across any of your digital marketing to then seeing your website. The user will know they have come to the right place. Your brand identity, if executed well, will provide you with the bones of what is needed to create a web design style to start your site. This will stand you apart from your competitors and not look like just another template design.

2. Who is your audience
Everyone’s business is different, which means so is your audience. Make sure you understand who your target market is before starting on your website content. This goes for design also. Just because you like the look and feel of a website which sells shoes online does not necessarily mean that this same website design will suit your business, which has nothing to do with selling shoes. By using a good digital designer, they can let you know if that website you like has some great elements which they can take into consideration, or if in fact that style will not work for your audience.

3. Content is King
Now you know your audience, let’s talk content. It’s not all about how the fonts and colours look on your website. Instead, it’s more about what your content is and how it is placed on the page that is the key. You don’t want users searching through lengthy text or numerous pages to find what they are looking for, as they will probably leave your site after the 2nd click. Be obvious with your message and make it easy for the user to get what they need from your site. Be savy and use certain keywords for SEO purposes and always make sure your content is up to date. There is nothing worse than finding a company’s address or hours of business has changed five months ago and no one had bothered to update the information.

4. Design is your friend
Great web design is determined by the user, not the actual website owner. By looking at the usability of your site from form to function, it is so important to make sure your website is designed with the user in mind and not just because it looks pretty.  Having a good digital designer on your side will make sure all elements of your site have a purpose and that your brand is used correctly in executing your message.

5. Good things take time
A rushed website never lies. You can see it in the content, imagery and execution. Okay sure, there could be a small percentage of websites out there that went up quickly and actually work fine, but if the web content and build is rushed then your user won’t be able to see through this and will realise your site does not provide what they are looking for. Be thoughtful about all the above and consider that good things do take time.

These 5 key principles are just the beginning of what it takes to start your awesome website.
Just remember an effective website is one that engages the user and embraces clear communication,
which will always be memorable for your visitors.

Even better, just remember this ol’ faithful: “If a job’s worth doing then its worth doing well”.

Renée Blakeley – Senior Finished Artist / Studio Co-ordinator

Gif created by Renée Blakeley

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