Earlier in this article we discussed the importance of identifying the primary goal of building your new website. The next step is to plan your content for the website including graphics, pictures, text, videos, etc.
Step 2: Prepare your content (or get it prepared)
Content is king.
You are going to need content for your website. Unless you are looking for a turnkey solution from your web development company who have content writers to write this content, you need to provide all the text, images, videos, etc. It is a good idea to have some content ready so designers can design your website's layout accordingly. Depending on your requirements and goals, you may either have a lot of content or just basic information, you may want to add content to your site, or offer it as a downloadble document (pdf, mp3, word doc, ppt, etc), whatever you need, get it ready.
Some companies, including us, have a team of content writers who will be more than happy to prepare the content for you and also get pictures and videos (stock or custom) for your website. But for those who already have the content, go through the content and make it optimized and relevant to the other content on your website. After your website is live, you would like to put some effort in getting paid and organic traffic to your website and relevance of content (and quality of content) plays an important role in getting a better quality score and page rank which will benefit in getting lower advertising CPC (Cost Per Click) as well as higher ranking on organic SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
A word of caution regarding content:
Most search engines dislike duplicate content, which means if you copy content from another website and put it on yours, you will get a lower quality score. Images are more sensitive. If you copy (intentionally or untentionally) any image from someone else's website, you can get sued. The best practice is always to write original content as well as purchase / acquire images / photographs / etc from stock photography website(s) or buy from companies or individuals and keep a written proof that you have their permission to use the content on your website.
Step 3: Know your design
If your company has set standards for which fonts, which color text, which color background, etc to use then you are good to go. Else it helps to give an idea to your web development company about what kind of websites do you like, so go and look at some websites and make a list. This is a good visual exercise as it lets you imagine what your future website will look like once it is designed. This will also take the guesswork out of the picture and give your web designers something to work with.
A quick tip for making notes, if you use Gmail or something similar is to just compose an email to yourself and keep adding all the ideas to it. This way when you want to discuss with your web design company, you will have all these notes on one email thread. Alternatively you can use any app that you use for taking notes, or go the old fashioned way with a piece of paper and pen.
Step 4: Understand Responsive Web Design
You have to keep in mind that your website will be accessed by individuals using their computers, tablets and mobile phones. Our analytics indicates that 1 out of 3 users reading this article do so on a mobile phone, therefore it is crucial for us, and you, to make sure that your website looks good, professional and is easy to use on all the different devices. This is where responsiveness comes in play. Responsive technology renders your website depending on which device it is being access from. So the any given web page from your website will look different on a computer, different on a tablet and different on a mobile phone. It's like having 3 websites but you only pay for, and maintain one website. Personally, I don't think there is even a discussion required when it comes to whether or not you need a responsive website, because you always do, but the fact is that there is a slight (not hug but slight) difference in your cost as it takes more time, effort, skill and knowledge to build a nice responsive website.
Once you have your goals set, content ready, some samples of what you like, and understand that your audience is going to use any of the 3 devices mentioned above, you are ready for a face to face meeting with the company, or hop on a call with them. We do offer turnkey solutions for companies and design websites that meet your goals, provide you with the functionality that you need, have a high conversion rate, and have the website optimized for search engines. Click here to schedule a call with us and discuss your project.