Nearly anyone can be taught how to build a website. That’s not something that you’ll hear a digital marketing agency say very often. But good website design is a complicated process, and hard to actually achieve. If a site is difficult to navigate, looks unprofessional, or loads slowly, users are likely to be put off and might end up with your competitors. Whether you’re creating your own website or having a site built, our website checklist will help you keep on track.
Get a website domain
A domain name is basically the address of where the website lives on the internet. Without one, it wouldn’t matter how good the website is, nobody will ever be able to visit or use it. It would be like cooking a stunning meal for friends, without actually telling them where you live so they could come and eat it.
You can choose your domain name (as long as it’s not already being used by someone else), so go for something relevant to what the website is or does.
What do you want your website to do?
It might be that you need an online shop (known as an eCommerce website) for customers to shop with you. Or perhaps you offer services so need a site for customers to find out more, request a quote, or get your contact details. Understanding this is generally a good place to start a brief.
What to include on your website
When you’re emotionally and financially invested in a project, it’s not always easy to get enough distance to think about it rationally. The story that you like telling about your brand might not be the information that the website needs to feature. Enlist the help of a friend, or talk it through with the designer/developer making the site.
Things to consider when planning your website
- Who will use the website?
- What do you want users to do on your website?
- What makes your company special?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are five websites that you really love, and why?
- Do you have an existing brand style? Font, colours, tone of voice, etc.
- Do you have high resolution images already, which could be used?
- If you already have a website, do you have any analytics data to understand which pages work?
What good websites need
We won’t labour the back-end technical stuff, don’t worry. A good website needs enough well written, relevant content (also known as copy), balanced by high quality images.
The site should tell the story of your brand, signpost what’s on offer, and be easy to get around. It should be able to do this visually, and with words.
Once you understand what is important to communicate and what isn’t, it’s a lot easier to start preparing the content. Try listing the essential messages, such as answers to frequent questions, and then arranging them under headings. Evolving the headings into page titles ensures that the site is logical to navigate, and that users can get to what they need.
If you have any questions about your website, let us know and we will do our best to help!