Are you thinking of creating a new website or giving your current content a refresh? It can be tempting to rush headlong into the project, but there are a few things that are definitely worth thinking about before you get started.
We’ve seen far too many website projects end in disaster – or hit some serious bumps along the way – because the client just didn’t know what they needed to plan for. Did they need a website designer, superior SEO strategy, or a copywriting agency? That’s why we’ve put together this guide, to help you think through some of the key issues and make sure your website project goes smoothly, first time.
1) What’s your budget?
Website projects can spiral out of control far too easily if they’re not carefully managed. Knowing how much money you have to start with will help you make the most of that budget as you go along. It will also help you make decisions about things like whether you choose a templated site or a bespoke one, for example, or whether you use stock images or have personalised ones done.
2) Do you have any special requirements?
Most website content will follow a few standard protocols, but there are some things that can make them a little more complex. For example, if you have a shop element or want to offer online courses, you may need extra functionality. This could impact everything from which platform you choose to how much the project will cost and who is experienced to help you achieve your goals.
3) Who’s going to create the website content?
A website includes various different elements: the design, the copy (ie words), the images and the build itself (which may be done using a template as a base or by coding a bespoke site). And then there are extras such as videos or animations. Some companies will be able to provide the whole package, others will only do one or two. So for example, don’t assume that because you’ve engaged someone to “make you a website” they’ll automatically be an effective copywriter.
4) What does your sitemap need to look like?
Simply put, the sitemap is the structure of pages you’ll be including on your site and how they fit together. This can include several levels or layers. A simple website might only have one level including a homepage, about page, services page and contact page. But you might want to divide your services into subpages, for example, or you might have a press subpage in your contact or about section, which further divides into subpages for press releases, media coverage, press contact details etc.
5) What keywords do you want to be optimised for?
SEO is a vital part of any website’s success. Whether or not you use an SEO specialist (another profession to add to the list) or simply want to brief your copywriter to include certain key phrases, you need to do your research. The first step is to establish a list of key words associated with the services and products you offer. This includes problems you can solve for your clients and the types of questions you imagine they might ask a search engine. Then use a tool such as Google Keyword Planner to get more data on whether people are searching for these terms, how often and how much competition there is.
By putting in the time now, you’ll save yourself all sorts of headaches later on. If you’d like to talk through the copy element of your site, do contact us – we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.
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