Websites 101: Getting A New Website

Here are a few simple steps to help you succeed with your website project.

1. Identify Your Goals

Before starting a web design project for your business, ask yourself the following questions to clarify your specific project goals. Doing this now will make life easier for both you, and your web designer.

  • What’s the primary purpose of my website?
    (i.e. to generate leads, make sales, showcase products/services, share information, educate, etc)
  • How do I define success?
    (i.e. beautiful design, more leads/sales, more visitors, more engagement with customers, more repeat sales, more members, etc)
  • What do my customers/prospects expect to find when they visit my website?
    (i.e announcements, news, new products/services, photos, videos, online booking/ordering, email newsletters, hours of operation, maps, menus, etc)
  • What do I want my website to look like?
    (i.e is there a specific style or site that I like, or do I want to trust my designer to create a professional design that matches my brand?)

2. Determine Your Project Requirements

Once you’ve figured out your goals, it’s time to clarify your project requirements so you know which type of designer will be a good fit for your needs.

  • What’s my budget? Is this amount just for the website, or does it include related marketing?
    (i.e. Search Engine Optimization, setting up Local Listings, Social Media, logo design, email marketing, etc)
  • When do I want to start my web design project?
    Am I ready now, or is there a specific time in the future that will be better (i.e. slow season, after the holidays, etc).
  • Will I be in charge of this project, or will I make someone else on my staff the go-to person?
  • What type of designer will I be most comfortable with?
    (i.e. big agencies, local firms, independent designers, international teams, etc)
  • Do I need to meet the designer in person, or is it okay to handle everything over the phone and through email?

3. Reach Out To Web Designers

When you are ready to start your project, begin reaching out to web designers. Identify 2 or 3 that you think you would be comfortable working with and schedule a consultation to go over your project. Make sure to ask the following questions:

  • What is the expected project completion time? What happens if you take longer?
  • Do you bill hourly, by project, or offer tiered packages/plans?
  • What payment methods do you accept?
    (i.e. credit card, check, Paypal, money transfer, etc)
  • Do you do handle everything within your company, or do you contract out to other agencies?
  • What does our relationship look like after the project is complete?
    Are you available for updates, redesigns, additions, support, training, etc?
  • What are the next steps, and what do you need from me to get started?

4. Outline Your Website Content & Pages

After you’ve selected a web designer to work with, they will send you a design brief and ask you to begin outlining the content you want on your website. Below are the most common items they will need from you.

  • Logo File
  • Contact Information
  • Operating Hours
  • Products / Services
  • Staff Bios
  • Photos / Videos
  • Social Media Accounts
  • Testimonials
  • Menus
  • News / Announcements
  • Company History
  • Educational Resources
  • Catalogs
  • Anything else you want your website visitors to see

5. Finalize & Launch Your Website

As you near completion of your website, it’s important to check with your designer that the following has been completed before launch.

  • Website has been tested in multiple web browsers
    (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc)
  • Website is free of bugs and functions properly
  • Website is editable by you or someone on your team
  • Training materials and support is available
  • Contact forms, buttons, and shopping carts are operational.
  • Website has been optimized and submitted to search engines
  • Email addresses are functional and email can be sent / received

6. Maintain Your Website

Congratulations, your new website is live. Now comes the hard part: maintaining your website. If you want to stay relevant to your prospects and customers, it is important to make sure your website is always updated and current. Share news, announcements, new products / services, and anything else you think is appropriate.

As the internet changes, new technologies become available, and new strategies/tactics become standardized, trust your web designer’s expertise. Add new functionally, do redesigns every 2-3 years, and use the platforms/tools he recommends.

It's everything you need to WOW your prospects and customers