Custom Website – The Process – Part 1
Below are a few questions you may want to answer before getting started.
What Do You Want Your Website To Do? – This question is possibly one of the most important aspects. What will it accomplish? Do you just want a few people to look at your site to find your phone number, or would you rather attract new visitors to your site and have them start discussions with you or buy your products or services?
Whatever it may be, you must create a specific goal for the site. If it will benefit your purpose, then include it. If it won’t, then take it out because it will only distract from the true function of the site. Another point – many times web projects get bogged down in things like some cool new kind of functionality which may not be what is truly needed and in the end only distracts from the message you are trying to convey. If you properly lay out the objectives of your website and how you plan to achieve them, you will be able to much better defend your decisions when excluding some of these ideas.
How Do You Want It To Look? – Deciding how your site should look is another important point in the process. The look and feel of a website says much about the organization, so it’s important to really research here. It’s also one of the most difficult pieces of information to extract from other members who have a voice in the project. We recommend that you search the web and review other websites that you find that appeal to you as a starting point.
Where Will You Get The Content? – It has been said many times that content is the life’s blood of the web. However, it’s also one of the biggest obstacles many developers face. Usually people start designing a site only to find that they have nothing to put in it! And, while everyone wants a good looking website, when we ask what content should appear, we often get answers like “put this brochure online” or “I’m sure we can find something”. While duplicating a sales brochure has some merit, a strong website will need a lot more content to make it attractive to new visitors.
Figure out where most of the written material in your organization lies. Ask around and see if the company reps or customer service people have written out tools they use. Outline just what type of copy you’ll be using on your site and where you think you’ll get it from. Also figure out how the copy will relate to the objective. It’s not an easy task, but you can’t find gold if you don’t know where to start digging.
Put It All Together – Once you’ve accomplished all of the above, you need to draft a paper that summarizes your findings and lays them out systematically. We call this our Getting Creative Strategy Plan and our designers refer back to it continually when creating the site layout and design. To make it easier for you, we will provide you with a questionnaire when it comes time for the design process.
Continue to Process Part II