Start your new website build on solid footing with these three ways to kick off your project right.
1. Pick a Style
We highly recommend getting a custom-designed website made for you, but knowing your style ahead of time will save headaches in the design phase. You don’t have to know what to call your style preferences – a talented designer can take inspiration from many sources.
When launching a new website project, choose a few sources of inspiration to share with your web design vendor. Find 2-4 websites that inspire you. If you are having trouble finding inspiration, you can filter a website like Awwwards to see the latest award winning websites in virtually any style.
Inspiration doesn’t only come from other websites! Bring your favorite magazine or business cards to the table as well. You are giving your web designer an idea of who you are, not just what you like.
The keyword here is ‘inspiration’ – you don’t want to clone someone else’s design, but bringing your preferences to the design stage will clarify the process for everyone.
2. Define Your Audience
Your website isn’t for everyone. That is to say, of course, everyone can view it, but not everyone will be a customer, client, or reader. The more focused your audience definition, the easier it will be to capture the right visitors.
We often see businesses take too broad an approach in defining their target. Counterintuitively, you don’t miss out on the bigger picture by narrowing your audience. A wider audience joins in when they see targeted content because we like joining movements. Setting too broad of an audience will make your message to thin to actually capture anyone’s attention.
The key is to determine your user’s biggest internal and external problems and meet them as an expert guide. If you don’t know where to begin, we offer a workshop process that helps you define your audience. The process is fun, and you end up with a document you can use for years to come in multiple parts of your business. Start here if you are interested in a clarifying workshop.
If you break a leg on a wood table and head to the store you are going to pick up “wood glue”. Chances are, other glue would work just fine, but you know that the glue with “wood” on the bottle is for your project. Your goal is to become “wood glue” for your industry – specific, labeled and targeted.
3. Content is King! (So Create it Now)
I couldn’t decide if this point should be first, last, or both – that is how important it is!
Determine who will be building your content and start as soon as you can. Start before you even talk with your first web design vendor. A great web designer will make suggestions for copywriting that converts, but having as much as possible prepared will set the project off in the right direction.
After working through point two you already know your audience, so address them directly.
Providing copy to your website designer will ensure the initial designs reflect your business well. Once the design is locked, laying out interior pages is 100% dependent on having words for them.
Content is foundational. Only you know your business well enough to talk about it effectively. Yet, this is often the most significant roadblock to the timely completion of a website project. I would estimate our average website build would be four to six weeks shorter if clients had prepared their copy ahead of time.
Your new website will be on much better footing if you do a little early leg work by knowing your style preferences, honing your audience, and preparing your content!