Good 2014 blog readers! Welcome to the New Year - and with the New Year comes new opportunities! Now as the first post for the year, I have decided to dedicate this to the people who have new ventures, new ideas and a motivation to use the internet to progress these ideas or their business. This is simply a little guide at the kind of things you will need when you are wanting to make a website, and the things you would need to have prepared when consulting web designers.
1. Identity and Branding
This is the first step to take, as this will impact the rest of your idea in the personality of your business. What are you calling this website. For start up businesses, before finalising anything else, you would want to know what you are going to name yourself first, then look into the web address for your site.
Logos are not too important to finalise at this stage but it is also important to have those before getting a website done, or you can get it done by your web people too.
For those that have these finalised already or are taking their current business to the online world, have these details and any artwork files prepared for your web people, saving yourself having to look through it at a later/possibly busier time. Logos should be in a .pdf or vector format if your designer has done it professionally. If you did it yourself, give them the biggest and easiest file to work with.
2. Domain Names
Now before I get started into it, a domain name is a web address: eg www.gcds.com.au or www.soleintegrity.com.au or www.crownbrush.com.au. It is best that you have one tied to your business name so check at what is available eg www.yourbusinessname.com.au (check www.domaincentral.com.au). Consider whether you want a .com.au, a .com or even a .co.nz depending on your business model.
Once you have seen that your domains that you want are available, go ahead and purchase/register it before someone else does. The ones we recommend for Australia are:
There are plenty of other ones out there such as Go Daddy, however we like the local support available and you can call them should anything arise. It is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that at this stage, YOU ONLY NEED THE DOMAIN NAME REGISTRATION. Unless you know what you are doing, consult with your web people first before progressing with Hosting and E-mails as you may end up doubling up the cost if you pay for one and realise it needs to be done on another and pay for that too.
Keep your details such as log in information handy as your web people will want this.
3. Purpose and Features of Website
Ok, do not start with "I just want a basic website", because more often than not, most people that say this actually want more than a basic website. A basic website is a standard couple of pages, with just plain text content and a contact form. No special functionalities or interactivity or anything else -just informational pages.
Things to consider are why you are building your website in the first place. If it is purely to display information, then you are after an informational site. If you are wanting to showcase photos in a nice way, you may consider a gallery. If you want to sell things online, you would be after an E-commerce site. If you want people to subscribe to newsletters, you would need e-mail campaigns. If you need people to sign up and become a member, you would need a secure zone. How optimised would you want your site to be on mobile devices and tablets? Do you see how misleading it can be if you tell people that you just want a basic site when you also need these features?
These are important to note not just for yourself in knowing what the website will have, but also so that your web people will know how much to charge you. If you do not inform them that these are what you want on the site, you could end up expecting something that doesn't appear because it wasn't specified on the quote. You can discuss these options with your web people but it is good to have an idea prior, then you can brainstorm (if your web people allow you to). Research also helps where you can see sites that you like and your vision of how your site should function.
4. Marketing Material
This does not need to be finalised when you first see your web developers, but at least have a think about how you will market your website, offline and online. Your site can be built looking pretty and function well, but if nobody knows it, it is just a nice trophy that will sit on your bookshelf when you invite people to your house.
Again, your designer/web developer may be able to provide you with marketing advice and things like that, but it helps to know that you have thought about it and have a direction that you will want to take - of course consult with experts too so that you know you are going about it the right way. Ideas for offline marketing include printed works and advertising on magazines, radio or TV. Meanwhile online marketing could also include Google advertising, Social Media, forums or other avenues such as affiliate marketing.
5. To the Web Guys!
So with all this said and done, you can go to your web guys and begin educating them on what you want. Having all of the details mentioned above would be helpful and may make it less taxing for you. Some companies bill for consultations so if your consultation costs, you want to make the most of the time that you have with them. Now I guess you must also ensure that you choose the right web guys, eg price, location, service etc. So in the coming blogs, we will also cover what to look out for when looking for a web designer/developer.
Got an existing website already?
If you have been good and organised yourself properly, before getting quotes, you would have done some research at what your website has and what you want it to have. In which case you would just go straight to Step 3 - assuming at this stage that there is no change in corporate identity or domain names. Then you can provide the designers with your current site and allow them to also see what could be improved - then discuss away and try to get the best outcome!
If you feel that this is all too much for you, simply talk to us and we can provide you with free consultation at our office to get you through the mess of the online world and guide you in the right direction!
Until then, let 2014 be the year of new adventures and expansion!
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