How hard is it to design a website?
Building your own website is not that difficult - you just need to make sure you consider all the elements and plan its structure*. Once done, finding the right platform is the tricky part. We love the Rocketspark website builder; this will be covered in another blog 'Which website builder should I use?'.
In this series of blogs, we're going to help you plan, structure and build a website. We will cover the elements that the Digital Doctor considers prior to the build process but right now all you need is a piece of paper and a pen.
In this blog, we're talking:
OK, let's get started.
* Refer to our blog 'How easy is it to structure a website?'
Your website - what's its purpose?
A description used often but very true: a website is the shop front to your business, club, lifestyle. It has to reflect what you do as well as communicate values, focus and aspirations. Since pretty much all of us research online before picking up the phone, your website must render an emotional response from a visitor the minute (let's be honest here, the second) a page comes up on screen.
In that split second, a website must tell its visitor what it's about and assure the visitor that if they take the time to stay and look around, they'll be rewarded with what they're searching for. It sounds simple enough but some website owners tend to overlook the importance of this first response - how many sites have you landed on and left because the website doesn't perform its purpose? Yes, Google should be returning the most relevant websites in its searches but that doesn't always mean we want to engage with those sites.
What function do you want the website to perform?
Answering this question is key. Once established, keep this in mind throughout the planning stage. It has to be your mantra until the site has gone live to avoid you losing your way and ending up with a confusing and incoherent website. If you're confused, it's likely that your website visitor will be too.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Are you selling products? If yes, do you need shopping functionality?
- Are you selling a service?
- Are you looking to build a community?
- Do you want to inform/provide resources?
- How complex do you need the site to be? Is it merely a brochure site or do you need a booking engine, event management or integrated digital marketing?
Establish what the website needs to do and also decide if the site will need to evolve as time progresses. If you're looking to add content, how much time can you put aside to manage this? Be honest with yourself. Successful websites need love, care and attention.
Taglines - yes or no?
Taglines are as important as the visuals on a website. Catchy slogans (and by that we don't mean a ridiculous phrase of alliteration) must tell your website visitor exactly what you do.
Be succinct. Short, sharp messaging is key in an age where the mouse is mightier than the sword.
Spend a couple of hours compiling a list of what you do in a series of taglines. The first attempt will be slow but once done, leave overnight and return and sculpt. Keep revising until you're happy with the end result. These can then be overlaid your imagery.
I need a good looking website
We hear this a lot at Digital Doctor and who wouldn't?
An attractive website will draw the eye and attention. It will assure a visitor that the business, club, shop etc. knows what it's doing and from a psychological aspect, a professional site makes the visitor feel 'safe'.
When we go online we all need to draw comfort that when we make contact, we're not wasting our time. Make sure you have professional high quality photos, illustrations and videos on your site. Never take the 'that will do' attitude towards imagery. Your likelihood of repeat visits will drop drastically. (Incidentally, we've seen this when we've conducted website audits for people wanting help with their existing website.)
Should I use stock imagery on my website?
We would recommend that you don't but in some instances, it's unavoidable. However, attempt to get good photos of your premises, both external and internal shots before going to the likes of Shutterstock or iStock. There are some good and free image libraries - pixabay and Unsplash being two useful sources.
Natural, engaging photographs will win over your visitors. Whilst many of us are camera-shy, having team photos around the site adds that human element that some sites lack.
Planning your website but need some help?
If you're interested in building your own Rocketspark website or would like some help from us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer tips, guidance or quote you to build a website from a starting price of £650 + VAT for a brochure site.
Give us a call!