New websites are usually an exciting prospect. They offer an opportunity to explore a fresh digital experience, attract new users and improve your business. But when it comes to getting the project off the ground, many small businesses struggle with the overwhelming nature of everything that needs to be done.
It’s not just about coming up with a new website design and buying a domain name – there’s also plenty of technicalities you need to take into account. You need to identify your goals for the website, develop content strategies and understand how CMS works. Read on for seven steps you can take to prepare for a new website without losing your mind…
Check out websites for design inspiration
One of the first steps towards creating a new website is finding design inspiration. Websites such as Awwwards, Behance and Dribbble are fantastic ways to discover new website designs and trends. Browse through a few selections to get a feel for the general aesthetics of your industry and see what’s currently popular.
Once you’re inspired, jot down a few words or phrases that come to mind when looking at these designs. This will help you get your creative juices flowing and you can use these words when looking for creative direction down the line. Having design inspiration is important because it will help you create a website that is unique to your brand, but also looks modern and visually appealing.
Know your target audience & goals
When you’re planning a new website, it’s important to understand your target audience. Who are they? What do they like? What are their pain points and what are their desires? Once you’ve got a good grasp of your audience, you can create a website that speaks to their needs and desires. This will help improve conversion rates and help attract new customers.
A good way to figure out who your audience is is to start with a client avatar. A client avatar is a quick and simple way to create a visual representation of who you are marketing to. You can do this by creating a fictional person and writing down everything you know about them. What are their hobbies? What is their daily life like? What are their goals? Once you’ve created a avatar, you can use it to help inform your website goals and design strategies. This will ensure that you create a website that resonates with your audience. Check out my video on how to create your ideal client avatar.
No one knows YOU better than YOU
When it comes to writing content, you might be tempted to leave everything up to the designer or copywriter, But it’s important to put your thoughts down on paper to ensure your target audience is addressed as well as what is important to you is highlighted within the copy.
Of course, you don’t want to come across as demanding or disrespectful towards your web designer. You need to take an active role in the process so that you can get what you want out of the website. The web designer or copywriter doesn’t know your journey, your accomplishments or what sets you apart from your competitors. These are things that need to be communicated so jotting them down in advance will help the process go much smoother and stay on task. Whatever you want to include on your website, you need to be specific about it.
Decide on a CMS platform
Content Management System (CMS) is software that allows you to manage your website’s content. It’s what lets you create and edit blog posts, create website pages and add things like contact forms and video carousels. Most websites are powered by some form of CMS software, but there are a few different options to choose from.
WordPress (Our Choice!)– WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms on the planet. It’s easy to use, has a robust community, and is supported by thousands of plug-ins. The design capabilities and functionality options are endless.
Squarespace – Squarespace is a great platform for small businesses who want a simple website with minimal fuss. The platform is easy to use and comes with a ton of website templates for you to choose from. The downside is that it’s not as customizable as some of the other solutions on this list.
Wix – Wix is a great option for small businesses who want a simple website without a ton of fuss. It comes with a ton of website templates for you to choose from. The downside is that it’s not as customizable as some of the other solutions on this list.
Shopify – Shopify is a great option for eCommerce businesses who want a simple website without a ton of fuss. It comes with a ton of website templates for you to choose from. The downside is that it’s not as customizable as some of the other solutions on this list.
Set a Web Design Budget
Now that you’ve figured out what your goals are and what your target audience is, you can set a budget for your new website. This will help you narrow down your options, while also keeping your budget in mind. The average website budget is between $2,000 and $10,000, depending on the needs of your business.
There are a few factors that will affect the price of your website, including the number of pages, the design and the functionality. The good news is that there are ways to reduce the cost of your website. You can negotiate with your designer or web developer, or take advantage of early bird discounts. You can also do some of the work yourself, like managing the content, designing graphics or finding stock images online. You should also consider if hosting your website on an existing platform or hiring a developer to build you a new one is the better option.
DYI or hire Professional
This one is pretty obvious, but you have the option to hire professionals to build your website or do it yourself. The good news is that website builders have gotten more robust and easier to use over the years. This means that you don’t have to be a developer to build a functional website.
That being said, there are a few things to consider before you decide to build a website yourself or hire a designer to do it for you. You need to calculate the costs of hosting your website and any plug-ins you might want to add, like eCommerce functionality. You also need to consider how long it will take you to learn how to build a website. Even if you’re experienced with website building, you should allow yourself at least one full month to build and launch a site. Ideally, you should set aside two months to make sure you have enough time to make changes and fix any issues that pop up.
Depending on the type of functionality your website needs, knowledge and available time, hiring a website designer may be a better option in the long run.
Be Prepared for the creative process
Once you’ve decided on a design direction and/or hired a designer, it’s time to get ready for the creative process. You’ll go through several iterations and edits before you get to the final design, so be prepared for some back and forth. Once you’ve settled on a design, it’s time to start preparing for launch. This includes writing blog posts, setting up social media and preparing for any website conversion. If you’re on a tight timeline, use these tips to help you stay as organized as possible.
- Set up a project management platform. This will help you track all deadlines, keep track of your budget and hold yourself accountable.
- Map out when you want everything done, including the design, development, testing and launch. This will help you make sure every stage of the process gets done on time.
- Don’t let the excitement of seeing your new site design divert your attention from the rest of the work you have to do. Stay focused, set goals and stay organized to make sure everything gets done on time.
- Get an early start – You’ll want to get your website up as soon as possible, but finding a host and setting up the CMS software can take some time. Make sure you start early enough to account for these extra steps if you need to launch by a certain date.
Building a new website can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. You need to make sure that you have all the right things in place before you launch your site, or you could risk hurting your business. You should start by checking out websites for design inspiration, so you know what’s currently trending. Once you’ve decided on a design, you can set a budget for building your site, and hire a designer or do it yourself. You’ll also need to make sure you have a schedule in place, so you can stay focused and get your site up as soon as possible.