28 Dec Start a Website in 2018: 5 Things to Watch For
With the new year coming, many business owners will be looking to expand their online presence. Whether you’re looking to redesign your old site or develop a new one entirely, there’s a few things you should be prepared for before you start a website in 2018.
Understand What You Want
Business websites differ based on their goals. Know your purpose before you start a website. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, you need to have a plan in place and build around your goal. Before investing time and money into having a website built, take a step back and prepare a business plan and marketing strategy. A business plan doesn’t need to covering every possible scenario. You only need to be able to answer a few simple questions.
- What is your purpose? What products or services are you selling?
- What is your market and who are your customers?
- What solution to customers problems are you offering?
- Know your competitors. Can you capitalize on their weaknesses?
- What will your online presence consist of?
Your marketing strategy can be a little more complicated and may seem overwhelming to someone not familiar with common practices. When researching a developer to help you start a website, be sure they also know basic marketing techniques. You can familiarize yourself with a few common terms and techniques so you’re not completely in the dark.
- An analytics tracking system such as Google Analytics
- Understanding the differences between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising
- Realizing the importance of social media platforms
- Affiliate marketing and consider selling through established, third-party platforms.
Setting up a business and marketing plan maybe overwhelmingly hard work in the beginning but it’s extremely important to the success of your website in the long run. Having a simple business plan prepared will ensure you and your designers understand your goals throughout development of your website.
A marketing plan is your road map for maintenance of your site as well as a plan for driving traffic and making sales. If you need help with either of these items there’s more than enough resources online to help you. Fields such as SEO and PPC can be complex. They’re in-depth, always changing and may require some outside help to fully plan your strategy out.
Underestimating the Work Involved
With the recent surge of “free” website builders, drag and drop editors and other DIY methods, it might be easy to underestimate the work involved when you start a website. Running a website is like running a business. There’s much more work involved than simple taking an order and shipping a product. In order to run a successful website and see actual growth to your business, you’ll require a fair amount of trial and error. It’ll take time to learn which techniques are working to drive traffic to your website.
If you outsource your website to an agency, you’ll still need to keep an eye on your analytics and business structure. Unfortunately, being successful online isn’t as simple as building and launching a site. That’s where your business and marketing plans come into play. Even with a plan in place to drive traffic to your site, it won’t be successful without keeping up with regular content updates to keep your customers interest.
It’s possible to create a successful business with the cheaper DIY methods. If you’re diving into this method with no prior knowledge or experience, it’ll be an uphill battle. Drag and drop editors are limited in what they can do. They don’t allow custom frameworks or functionality to be implemented. It’ll require a large time investment between trial and error, strategy implementation and constantly learning new marketing techniques and best practices.
So, while we’re a bit bias, we suggest working with an agency on your future web projects. Your decision really comes down to whether or not you have the time or interest in learning these techniques yourself. If you’re a small startup with more time to spare than money, the DIY method is probably your best bet. On the other hand, if you feel your time better spent elsewhere, a web studio would be a perfect fit for you- let people like us do all the heavy lifting for you.
Good Content is More Important Than Good Design
When you start a website, it’s important to present yourself in a modern, professional look. It’s important that the design of your website is up to par with your competitors. The design of your website attributes to your customers first impressions. However, once a customer visits your site they’ll start browsing around, trying to learn more about you. This is where your content comes in. Content is what captures user’s attention and keeps them on your site. Content gives you the opportunity to build trust, stay relevant and show your expertise. Your content is important because it’s what people are coming to your site to see.
Design is still important- you need to make a good impression on your customers. Once they’re there though, content is what will keep them coming back.
Avoid Decay, The Site Needs Maintenance
Most industries are changing rapidly and with that, their audiences change too. Hopefully, your business is keeping up. If it is, you should convey that through your website. Adding a news blog, social media feeds or adding a project catalog are all common ways of adding content to a site overtime. Before you start a website, you should have a plan in place to update, maintain and improve your website on a monthly if not weekly basis. This goes back to the above point- content is more important than design. Quickly adapting your website to better appeal to your audience will help you build more trust, improve traffic and SEO rank.
Research Web Agencies
If you decide to work with a web agency or studio, it’s important that you do your homework first. The web development industry continues to rise quickly and there’s a long list of agencies to choose from. We’re not bashing but there’s a large number of people out there who call themselves web developers just because they’ve made one or two sites out of pre-made templates. It’s unfortunate to see a small business owner spending money on these novice developers only to get a sub par website in return. The web development industry is like any other- you get what you pay for. Use your common sense and do a little background before committing to an agency.
It’s important you find an agency that will provide a design that properly represents your company. Don’t cut corners when making your website. A good website could sky rocket your business while a bad website could remain stagnant and underwhelming to future customers.
While there could be more issues when setting up your website, these are common problems we see our clients experience. It’s important to be prepared when starting a website. We at Orlando Website Studio pride ourselves on providing an easy solution to website design, development and implementation, there’s still some things out of our control. Our clients need to provide content and a general outline of their marketing message and design goals. It’s better to be prepared before hand to speed up the process and meet expectations all around.