Making the decision to have a new website built is exciting. I commissioned my new one last week…super exciting but also a little daunting, because I want this one to be perfect!
I’ve been mulling over having a new website for well over a year, my existing one hasn’t reflected who we are as a company for a while now. However I’ve experienced and seen challenges around me that have made me double and triple check that we’re good to go.
Before you dive in, you must have your business growth and social media strategy in place. This will show the functionality required. Nothing more devastating than realising it’s less use than a chocolate teapot when it’s launched because certain aspects were overlooked in the original brief.
You know how I know this? Because I’ve experienced it myself, talked to business owners after theirs have gone live, and project managed many clients’ web projects. WHY? Because my clients didn’t know what to do and they weren’t given professional direction.
The challenge here is most website designers and developers are not social media experts, and neither of those are SEO experts. WHY? Because you can only be an expert in one skill, otherwise that’s not your specialty! So we have to collaborate to create…
THE WEBSITE DREAM TEAM:
Find people you trust and are proven experts in their industry. Ask for recommendations, look at websites they have built, designed, SEO’d (I officially proclaim this is a word!), and created strategies for. Spend time ensuring they understand you, your business and your customers.
Business Growth Strategy:
What is your business growth plan for the next 2 – 5 years? Where do you want to be? Your website needs to reflect this or have the capacity for easy expansion when you are ready.
Social Media Strategy:
Your Social Media Strategy should reinforce your Business Growth strategy so they can work together. What is needed to make it happen?
- Mobile responsive? It has to be! You will be driving traffic to your website from your social media activity (yes, you will!). The percentage of mobile users grows every day, especially on social media. If your website isn’t looking good, people are gong to bounce straight back off it.
- Naturally your blog will be integrated, so Social Sharing buttons are critical for your Superfans to share your awesome content on every network they want to!
- Will you have your Twitter stream on there? This is something I have chosen not to do because it slows down the loading of the website.
- You want people to see your social media icons as soon as they hit the site so where will these go in the design? They should be easily visible at the top of every page. Not tucked away, tiny, and at the bottom on your contact us page. Make it easy for your website visitors to find, along with the rest of your contact details.
- And finally – External Links. This drives me nuts! Clicking on a social media icon and the page navigates away from the website. That’s it, you’ve lost your visitor! All external links should open in a new browser tab. That way if they do get distracted on Twitter, when they close it down your website is still open to remind them what they were doing.
There are other essentials you need to have in place before starting your new website, but to me these are the top three.
I feel I have pulled together the best website team I could have found. Our first meeting was INSANE! The energy, the ideas, the collaboration of knowledge, totally amazing. Afterwards I sat there in a bit of a daze, my brain rapidly trying to process everything that had been thrown in and realising my website had just taken a totally new direction to the one I had imagined. Perfect!
Made with Joy have already cracked on with the build, Nikki, Designs Like These is producing magical designs and a rebrand for me, and Chris at Glooo is keeping me firmly on track to make sure my SEO is the best it can be.
Watch this space for new developments!