As you surf or browse online, do you ever ask yourself why some websites look so appealing, while others look positively mediocre? And while you are at it, have you considered the impact that the content on such low-quality sites may be having on the company’s clients? It’s highly likely that the web design agency behind those websites isn’t doing such a stellar job.
So, what can you do to ensure your own website doesn’t fall prey to poor design? The answer is quite simple – and you’ll be surprised - read on to find out.
The 6-step Guide To Web Content Planning
Website design is part science and part art…but both components have one thing in common : Planning. With proper foresight and planning, you’ll create the building blocks of the most compelling website design. And in order to create that robust foundation, you need content – well thought-out and high-quality content.
Some of your competitors are already secretly adopting these tactics. Here’s how you too can make sure your web designer has everything that he/she needs to build you a website that visitors won’t be able to resist:
Step#1 – The End Game: Don’t start planning your website layout and content from the top down, one page at a time. Instead, think of what the end product will generally look like, and then work backward until you reach that point. It's much easier to work like that and you know you'll get the right end result. You need to me meticulous with the intra step details here so that you do 'join the dots' correctly to get you from the starting point to the end result.
Step#2 – The More the Merrier: Give your web design agency as much content as you can find. That’s the raw materials out of which great sites are built. It doesn’t mean your designers will cram it all into the website – but they will have immediate access to everything they need. You can work with them to pick the best-of-the-best once you have lots of it to choose from.
Step#3 – The Big Picture: Now start high-level web designing with what sections you need to add to the site. Do you need a “Testimonials” section? Do you plan to sell online in a web shop? If so, a “Web Store” and “Shopping Cart” are a must-have.
Step#4 – Branding: Does your web site design need to include a brand or logo? Now is the time to think about branding and imaging your company. If you don’t do it at the planning stage, think of what could happen in a few years – once you’ve built a loyal following.
Asking your web designer to add a brand or logo a few years after clients have embraced your products could be disastrous. The “retrofit” will not only look suspicious, but it could also cost you many loyal clients and cause confusion which could have been avoided if that work was planned and executed at the start.
Step#5 – Customer Outreach: One of the best brand “selling” opportunities is when you interact with clients, suppliers, business partners and other outsiders. And often your email address is what helps you enable that outreach. Using a Gmail or Hotmail account to conduct such outreach just won’t cut it!. They’re not credible enough for effective outreach.
Ensure your website designing team creates emails, that are sent from your PC or Smart phone, with addresses that have your own personalised domain – e.g.: info@YourCompany.ie , Sales@YourCompany.ie or Mary@YourCompany.com. Using email addresses like “YourCompany@Gmail.com” or “YourCompanySales@Hotmail.com“, projects a rather unprofessional impression on would-be clients.
Step#6 – Great Website Management: It doesn’t matter how carefully you plan your website design, and how effectively you create your content. If you don’t manage your overall web presence, you just won’t make it in today’s highly competitive world!.
Insist that your web designing agency help you manage your website using specialised tools, like Content Management Systems (CMSs), high-performance hosting, nightly virus scans and 24x7 website monitoring. That way your website will be safe and secure, and with the CMS you can update or add fresh content more often – without too much effort.
Great website design is only as good as the reliable and robust hosting it sits on. If visitors (some of those could be potential clients!) find your website too slow to navigate, or if they find it its more often “down” than “up”, chances are they’ll take their business to your competitor.
And of course, good website management practices require frequent backups, strong anti-virus policies, and efficient recovery procedures. If your web design is based on ongoing website management best practices, you’ll find it a reliable web tool to market your products and services, and also to project your brand favourably.
Website Planning Essentials
Your competitors know that good website design starts with good planning. Are you willing to let that “secret” stay with them, without doing anything to take back their competitive advantage? Of course not – start your planning today.
From content and layout, to brand management and ongoing maintenance – it must all be part of a well-thought-out plan. However, great planning cannot start unless you have a professional team working with you. That’s why it is essential to find a website design agency with the necessary skills and experience to implement this 6-step guide to website excellence.
Give us a call or email if you have any website, email, management or marketing questions that we can help you with.