Need a Website? – (Part 1 of 3)

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Getting ready to launch your first website or redesigning an existing one? There’s a lot of planning that needs to be done before you start. First, you need to understand what you need a website for.

Getting Started Building Your Website

For starters, try answering the questions below. Your answers will help you to determine the kind of website you need. Informational websites where the information doesn’t change often are obviously the simplest to build and maintain. Other websites need databases and E-commerce sites need SSL certificates. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration. Ask yourself:

  • Are you going to have an informational website?
  • Are you advertising a product or service that’s available locally or are you selling internationally?
  • Are you going to be accepting payments online?
  • Will you have content that needs to be updated often? (If you do, who is going to update it?)
  • Are you incorporating a blog?
  • What’s your budget to build and maintain your site? (If you’re thinking of building your own site, what skills do you have?)
  • What is your time-frame for launching your site?

Planning Your Website

Whether you’re planning to work with a professional website designer or are thinking of building your own site, you should start getting an idea of what you want your website to look like. What color scheme are you thinking of? As simple a question as this seems to be, there are implications here. Lots of research has been done on the importance of your color scheme. Certain colors are associated with trust. Others make you think the site is fun. For example, you never see a website for a financial institution with bright colors like hot pink and you won’t find sites for graphic designers using a lot of silver and blue. Keep in mind your target customer and your product/service while you plan your site design.

Website Design

One of the easiest ways to start thinking what your website should look like is to look at your competitors’ websites. (If you don’t know who your competitors are, this would be a good time to find out.) Get online and start searching the Internet for products/services that are similar to yours. What do their home pages look like? What colors are they using? Do they have online help? If they have a shopping cart, do they use PayPal? Jot down all your ideas and start thinking of the answers to these questions:

  • How many pages are you going to need?
  • Do you need a photo gallery?
  • Do you need a shopping cart?
  • Do you already have a logo, a domain name and a tag-line?
  • Do you need to have a search option on your website?
  • Do you prefer the navigation menu to be on the top or side of your page?
  • Would “live-help” be a nice addition?

Your Website and Your Brand

Keep in mind that your website is a major part of your brand. All pieces of your marketing materials, including your signature line on your emails and the profile you have on social networking sites are opportunities to drive traffic to your website. Your site needs to look professional and should tie into your brand. You have less than 3-seconds to grab the attention of your website visitors. Will your site do that? And will your potential customers even find your site online?

I’ll attempt to answer more of your questions in parts 2 and 3. For now, start planning and feel free to comment with any ideas, suggestions or comments you may have.

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

7 thoughts on “Need a Website? – (Part 1 of 3)”

  1. Sherryl,
    These are great questions. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. I know who my customers are and I can’t afford to hire someone to build my site for me. I hope to learn more.

  2. Hi Sherryl

    I can attest to the fact that you have it covered well … having just made changes to my lavender blog.

    It is a lot of work, but for me was worth the effort. And I’m sure there are many who do changes once they have been blogging/marketing for awhile.

    Really informative post; especially for those starting out. Thanks for sharing Sherryl. Appreciated.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  3. Much better if we have everything within the site. More reference more realistic.

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