How do I start planning my website?
The digital era is well and truly upon us. Let’s look at how you can thrive.
Whether you’re all about Zoom meetings in your slippers or prefer a good old fashioned face-to-face, one thing is for certain in these uncertain times: the US is going online. In fact, ecommerce sales were up 40% at the end of May 2020 as compared with the same time the year before.
For any business, a well-designed website is now more than just a tool – it’s essential.
Whether your site is e-commerce, non-profit or simply to generate sales leads, it’s an expression of your organization and the passion behind it. You’re speaking directly to your customers, so sending the right message is crucial. A stagnant website with design that’s difficult to use could be missing you a massive opportunity. An elegant, intuitively designed platform, however, is a different story.
At State Creative, we know this can be a daunting prospect, so we’ve put together some tips to help you get yourself ready to start building your website.
Whether you’re a tech whizz or can’t tell your TV remote from your laptop charger, getting ready to build a beautiful website is actually more about thoughtful planning than design and development expertise. That’ll come later – and anyway, that’s where an experienced web design agency can help.
Get out the pen and paper. It’s time to ask yourself some questions.
What do you want from your new website?
What goals do you have for your website, and how do these goals align with those of your business? For most people, the end goal will be an action they want their visitors to take, be that a purchase, donation, signature or getting in touch.
Get clear on your goals for going online and keep them front of mind – they’ll help you answer the next questions.
What kind of site do you need?
Can your customers purchase your products online? If so, it’s a powerful ecommerce website you’re after.
Or, is your site going to be a content-driven platform to generate sales leads and educate your customers? In this case, you don’t need to clutter it with ecommerce technology, but concentrate instead on design that displays your content in the most engaging way.
Keep it simple – there’s no need to put all the shiny new tools on there if they’re not actually going to be of use to your customers! In fact, research has shown that simple websites are rated as ‘more beautiful’ – and can lead to more conversions.
What content are you going to have?
From blog posts to podcasts, product pages to reviews, the options are endless. It’s a content jungle out there! Same principle as before – keep it simple. Work out what’s going to be of value to your customers and actually convert into sales for you.
What about features?
Options for new website features are popping up quicker than you can say coding. It’s time to decide what tools your website needs for maximum success, so here are a few to consider:
- email opt-in form
- breadcrumb navigation
- social media showcasing
- analytics or a live chat
- Mobile optimization (over 60% of searches are done on mobile!)
This part can be overwhelming, we know. But finding the right tools and integrating them seamlessly into websites is what we do best, and we’re happy to help.
Talk to us about integrating the tools to empower your website.
When is it time to call in the experts?
Platforms like WordPress and Drupal are powerful content management systems, and while they offer you the option to build your own website, it’s safe to say experience drives results here. Using a WordPress or Drupal web design agency that knows what they’re doing means you’ll tap into the platforms’ full potential, and set yourself apart from your competitors.
Our team of designers and developers at State Creative have been around the block. We know how to bridge the gap between what you imagine and a real-life, high-impact website packed with useful features that are simple to manage.
This is our thing, and we love what we do. We design, develop and maintain beautiful websites on WordPress that generate sales leads and sell stories.
There’s no substitute for experience. Let us use ours, so you can get back to what you do best.
Draw up a sitemap.
This is your blueprint, the architecture of your website. And yes, you can get started on the back of a napkin. To put it simply, it outlines the pages of your site and the way your customers navigate them. Think “Home,” “About” and “Contact,” for a start.
To get a little more detailed (and the napkin might need an upgrade here), the sitemap is basically a menu that lists your website’s pages and components, and the paths that connect them. It guides wireframes, navigational flows, advanced functionality and helps vet interface decisions. (Don’t understand these? Don’t panic – give us a call and we’ll talk you through it).
It may look like boxes and squiggly lines, but a logical sitemap lays the solid groundwork for a great user experience.
Looking for a web architect to help? We’ll draw you up the sitemap for success.
It’s D day. Time to design and develop.
You’re ready to put your plan into action! This is where an experienced web design agency really shows their worth. Web design is so, so much more than picking logos and a font: it’s about creating a powerful experience for your customers that translates into success for your business.
Good design is just good business.
Great design is everything. As Ralf Speth puts it, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” He’s in the world of car engineering, but the same goes for websites. The difference between good and bad design can be the difference between a customer engaging, and losing interest.
In fact, studies have shown that 75% of web users make judgements about a company’s credibility based on their website design.
A well-designed website is created with both your business goals and your customers in mind. There’s not a single rock left unturned in the process, from integrating beautiful imagery and content to creating the most intuitive pathway for customer action. And that’s just the beginning.
Ready to execute? Let’s put your plan into action.
Whatever stage of the planning process you’re in, we can help you take it from concept to reality. From project kick-off through to launch, we offer a full suite of services including strategy consultation, website design and development, mobile development and maintenance and support services.
The world’s gone digital, but only the best will make a lasting impact. Integrating strategy, design and engineering, we can build you a website that leads the pack.
Let’s make you a beautiful website. Get in touch >