You’ve had the idea, you’ve done the research and you’ve taken the plunge to set up the business of your dreams…. And now you need a website.

Your website is your shop window to the world, often the very first impression people will have of your company so you know it’s got to be great. This can feel a bit daunting. When I am talking to potential clients for the first time, they have lots of ideas but don’t entirely know how to put these together as a brief for a website designer.

Never fear, I have put together the 7 most important factors to help focus your thoughts and ideas when planning out your new site.

  1. What do you want your website to do for you?

Consider what your objectives are for the site – Are you looking to generate sales, get enquiries or do you want an online brochure to back up your offer?  Will people know your name already and be visiting your site to check you out or are you expecting people to find you without know you first?

  1. Branding – consistency is key

Take some time to think through how you would describe your business, for example expert, fun, ethical. This is really useful for ensuring consistency across all your marketing and how you operate in your business.

  1. Who do you want your customers to be?

Who are your customers and what will they be attracted to? Profile exactly who you are targeting – their age, gender, industry sector, likes and dislikes, what problem you are solving for them. What will they be looking for in a business like yours? Taking the time to profile your ideal customer will really help you to make the right decisions to create an appealing website.

  1. Getting the right content

Many people try to write their own website content but end up using a copy writer, as they really struggle to come up with the words to do their business justice. Whether you use a copywriter or not you still will need to do the following:

  • Sketch out a page plan starting with the pages you know you will need – home, about, contact etc and get an idea of the size of the site.
  • Consider the tone of voice – what is the right tone for the content? formal, friendly, chatty, funny – this must fit with your brand values.
  • List all your keywords – include these in your content to help Google to find your website
  1. Images

A relevant image brings your content to life. Best of all is to have your own pictures but this is not always viable particularly when you are just starting out. Otherwise there are lots of good image libraries – Pixabay for free ones although my favourites are Shutterstock and Dreamstime where each image is about £8.

  1. Look and Feel

It’s so easy to know what you don’t like and so much harder to find what you do. Take a bit of time to browse the web and make a note of all the sites that appeal to you. They don’t have to be in your industry sector – look at navigation, spacing, layout. What is intuitive and what isn’t? What colours work with your brand and work on a website?

  1. Domain names, hosting and security

Choose a domain name that matches your business, is not too long and is easy to remember. Domain names can easily be purchased from a variety of sellers – big ones in the market are GoDaddy, 1and1, 123-reg. You can also buy hosting with them but have a chat with your website developer about the best hosting options. One thing to make sure is that your site has an SSL certificate which helps both your search ranking and our visitor confidence.

I love working with small and start up businesses – their energy and enthusiasm for their business makes my job as a Website Designer really fun. If you are looking to build a new website for your business, please do get in touch for a chat.