First Steps To Web Property
So you want a website, perhaps you need a website because you trade in goods or services or perhaps your company does, even charities may want to be on the internet. You could go to a company and tell them what you want and let them get on with it – if you have the budget. But I suspect if you are reading this you don’t so read on.
This process is different for personal sites – if that’s you all you have to do is decide what you want it for, decide on it’s aims, perhaps even collect some content before you even start. When you’ve done that you can go direct to step 2 in this series but feel free to continue here if you wish.
For almost everyone else the process starts “in-house” at keywords, phases & your existing client processes. Yes you could, should you wish, jump right in to buying hosting, domain or web developer but from that point the money starts flowing out and you from my experience you trying to gain more control from that point may end up with you paying over far more money than you intended. Changes in projects always cost money so best to spend some time knowing more about what you want but more importantly knowing what you need. Then you can lead the project & control it within budget & within your time scale. You are also less likely to be hoodwinked into having something you don’t need. OR – you’ll be like this company – my quote £40,000, they went with another who quoted £120,000, the final cost? £250,000. The site was abandoned after just over 12 months, a group of project managers lost the job because of it and they came back to me to resolve the problem – Note here I don’t build sites. I arrange for the right person to build the right site the right way. My role – Internet Architect
Only you will know what your site will say to customers – this is the keywords & phases. Here’s an example – Say you are a kitchen shop on the High and someone comes in. They’ve seen what they like but don’t know the name of it or they know a product name but the don’t know if it’ll be right for them. You’ll have staff that should be able to help and they’ll use their experience to determine exactly what this customer wants, if they do they’ll have a sale if they can’t that’s a problem. Only training or experience will solve that. A website doesn’t have “experience” it only has what you give it in a sort of training. Now in our example swap “someone comes in” with “someone searches Google” if they search and your site doesn’t offer up suggestions it’s not been trained properly just like the shop staff. See how it works? my past is littered with failed projects by people who thought they would build a site and then advertise their company name and that’s all they need to do. In fact people are still doing this now spending loads – Google love them but they show them no love in search ranking. Google are not there to help you remember that.
You may get away with that approach, but if that’s a concern then start listening to your customers & staff;
List all the brand names you use
When customers have questions make a note of the phases they use
Set up a working process to new brands & phases to your list
Note if people are asking for a main product line or a model of that line. What mean by that is you can beat your competitors online by choosing to promote the best selling model of a product line. If we were talking cars for example – A Renault Mégane might have a saloon, hatchback & estate version etc. If you know most people are interested in the hatchback you can focus on that. By focus I mean you can place it in a more prominent position on your site, put in an extra effort etc. Just the same as you might put that car at the front of your forecourt sales area.
This needs to be on-going, there off-line needs to pass info to your online. It need not take up much time but needs to be in the mix early. This will also help toward deciding on your domain name and what type of site you need. It’ll lead you to choosing one design over another perhaps because one may be more flexible enough. It’s the most important part of this process. The time you spend here will save you time, money & energy later.