Your checklist for creating an awesome website
Planning a new website can be a seemingly terrifying task. There’s a lot to consider.
If you’ve had any experience in owning, managing or monitoring a website you will know that it’s not all that easy to get that website the attention it deserves.
It’s not just a matter of Mad Men style nifty marketing and advertising campaigns because even if you get the clicks, you need people to stick around. That’s why you need to focus on making the website awesome from the start of its little digital life.
So here’s a checklist of things to consider and consider well.
Awesome website step 1
Start with some riveting content.
Content is key or as Bill Gates said “Content is King”. That’s why its here in Step 1.
Figure out what your visitors want to see / hear / read.
And whilst you’re madly tapping away on your keyboard, keep in mind these three things:
1) AUDIENCE – You want your website to be a crowd pleaser so think about who you are targeting, what they would respond well to and how to keep them engaged. If you’re bored writing it, chances are, they’re bored reading it.
2) PURPOSE – What do you want your website to achieve? What overriding question does the website answer and what do you want your audience to DO about what they have read, watched or seen (see Action Points below)?
3) TONE – Finding the right tone can be tricky and it varies depending on your sector and the nature of your clients. Think back to your audience and what style of voice they would respond best to. This could vary from one page to the next but try to find a central identity to your website that reflects your company and what you do.
Create your sitemap.
Here’s an example:
Action points: Every page should have some sort of action point whether it’s a contact form, a link, a buy now button or a telephone number. What do you want your audience to do after reading that page? Make it as easy as possible for them to follow a link, download a document, get in touch, leave feedback or make a purchase. Literally rub it in their face (in a non-violent vritual way).
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and who could argue with Leonardo Da Vinci. Not I.
Making your navigation long and complicated will make it harder for users to find the information they need. No one has the time to dither about anymore, so make it easy for them.
Now all you need to do is fill that sitemap up with some enthralling words.
DO keep it short but sweet.
DO sprinkle your content with a dose of keywords – for amazing SEO 😉
DO check and triple check for bad grammar and silly spelling mistakes.
DO write for your audience
DON’T overthink it.
DON’T use big words when you don’t need to.
Awesome website step 2
What do you need your website to do?
When selecting/designing your template you need to consider exactly what you need your website to do for you and if possible anticipate what you will need it to do in the future (a bit like a time lord) thus avoiding having to rework your website a year later: a costly and frustrating process.
Do you need:
- A secure area or members’ area
- E-commerce – whether it’s a full shop or just a one off payment
- A social media feed
- A comments facility
- A gallery
- A portfolio of your work
- An events listing or booking system
- Categories and sub-categories for products or articles
. . . and the list goes on.
Awesome website step 3
Find/create your template
If you have the budget for a bespoke design and you’ve picked the right web designer, chances are you’ll hit the nail on the head. Even with a great designer it’s a good idea to work form a skeleton when creating your design.
Brace yourselves for a bit of technical jargon. . . Wireframing. In reality, this word sounds a lot more technical than it really is. In fact, it’s not that techy at all.
Wireframing involves sorting through your website content and deciding what goes where on each page to come up with a template that specifies the layout of each section of the site. Your designer will work with you to find a practical, usable and visually effective design which you may need to revise a couple of times to get it spot on.
Use your web designer. If he/she is a good egg, she’ll have a lot of experience and knowledge to smother you and your website with.
Wireframing looks a bit like the example below which illustrates a homepage for an ecommerce site. It marks out all the different elements of the page, what kind of content it is and what it does.
Alternatively if you plan to pick one of the many templates now available, then this is where all your previous content work will come in handy. The reason you have to get all that stuff out the way first is because your template needs to house your amazing content.
So, you need to look at the layout options of the template. Will it work with your content and is there enough variation to make things look interesting?
Consider latest trends carefully. For example one-page templates are pretty popular just now and work well with the simple sitemaps but could be the wrong choice for a more complicated site. If you do think a one-page website is appropriate for your content then make sure your users know to scroll down from the homepage. Sounds obvious but if there’s nothing to suggest that there’s more “below the fold” they might just be stumped and head elsewhere.
Remember your audience at every stage. What is the most user-friendly way of laying out your content.
Clean is best. Think clean, minimal and modern. Don’t use too many colours and allow some white space. This will give your site a longer “best before” date.
Awesome website step 4
A bit of tarting up.
Now ideally you’ll have all of the content ready before hand but we’re only human and most of us have precious little time to spend on this stuff.
So here are some suggestions on how to make your content all the more enjoyable:
- Use your headings. It’s a good idea to use headings 1, 2, 3 and 4 on one page. But remember, use heading 1 just once.
- Provide a stealthy mix of videos, images and text to add variety. Not everyone enjoys reading lengthy bits of text so give your audience options
- Links, links, glorious links! Dot links around your page. Making internal links obvious and plentiful will encourage people to explore. External links (to trusted websites) will boost SEO but make sure they open in a new window
Awesome website step 5
Make a brew
Planning is hard work so be sure to keep the tea flowing and biscuits piled high. Alternatively, employ a minion to feed you biscuits at regular intervals. To keep our healthy eating clients happy – feel free to substitute fresh fruit, nuts and carrot sticks for the biscuits along with a nice cup of peppermint tea.
It takes a bit of effort this so keep going and if you need a bit of a boost give us a call. We’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of biscuits and a lot of patience if you’re running short.
Give us a bell: 01926 330135
Crack us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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