While it’s tempting to dive right into web development when you get a flash of inspiration, taking time to think through your idea and plan your website beforehand can go a long way. Considering your answers to these questions now can make starting your website a breeze in the future.
Why do you want a website?
Some clients we work with at Big Red Jelly realize they should have some kind of web presence, but don’t really know what they want their website to accomplish. Even the most beautifully designed, perfectly formatted site can flop if it appears directionless. Having clearly articulated goals and objectives before starting your website makes a huge difference throughout the development process. Whether your website is meant to help increase brand awareness, educate browsers, or encourage online sales, understanding the “why” behind its creation is invaluable.
Who is your ideal visitor?
While first-time browsers don’t spend much time on your website, they take in every specific detail in that initial glance, from design to content. If your website doesn’t appeal to the audience it’s intended for, potential customers will move on before they know what they’re missing. Be proactive about the design and accessibility of your website from the perspective of your ideal visitor. Identifying and personally understanding your target audience ensures you will address their needs and turn those browsers into lifelong customers.
What do you want visitors to do?
Now that you’ve identified your target visitor, what do you want from them? Chances are you’re not starting your website only for fun (although if you are, that’s okay too). Your site should encourage visitors to take specific actions (CTA’s or “calls to action”). No matter how well you’ve designed your site, visitors won’t know what to do unless prompted directly. Clearly visible links helping clients sign up for your email list, donate to a cause, contact you, or purchase a product make the difference between a stagnant page and a functional, efficient website.
What features do you want your website to include?
This one connects back to your “calls to action” from question #3. Now that your objectives for starting your website are clear, it is easier to consider what activities you want available for clients. Defining the types of features you want to be included on your website works best when done in the early stages of your project, not further down the line when you’ve already perfected some other, less important element.
What are your favorite websites and why?
Chances are, your vision for your website is likely a combination of several other successful sites you aspire to emulate. Compiling the links to 3-4 of your favorite sites can help your web designer (or your own imagination) have a better idea of what you find appealing. While the importance of establishing your own unique brand cannot be overstated, using examples as a reference can provide highly valuable inspiration.
What do you envision to be the brand/style of your website?
You might already have a clearly defined style that is carried across your logo, social media accounts, and Powerpoint presentations. Don’t be afraid to use this in your web design! Providing your web developer with vision boards, merchandise, photographs, or other graphics to help them understand your existing aesthetic provides access to the look and feel of your business. If you want to change your style, go for it! (Just make sure your branding stays consistent and recognizable).
How much money are you willing to put in?
Pretty much all of the above questions are affected and influenced by how much you want to invest into your site. Creating a website isn’t necessarily expensive, but it can be, depending on your requirements. If you’re about to launch a website for a company, it is especially smart to have a budget in place before you proceed. Once you have figured out how much you want to spend, divide your budget into categories for jobs like hosting, web design, and marketing.
Whether you’re just getting started or looking to do a little spring cleaning on your current website, our team of strategists is here for you to support you through each step of getting your business online. Contact Big Red Jelly today to get your ideas for website development in motion!