If you’re thinking about having a website built, it’s important for you to have a clear idea of the process before you begin. Your website could be a profitable business venture for you, but only if you’ve really done your research ahead of time. Many people begin investing in their new websites before they’ve really thought out each step and end up wasting money on sites that never see fruition. However, with some simple planning and research, you can set yourself on the right track toward developing a successful website. Here are seven tips for web design and promotion to get you started.
1. Survey the Market and Research Your Competitors
Before you get ahead of yourself and begin hiring a web designer, take some time to survey the market and research your competitors. Look at what other types of websites are out there and see if anyone is doing something similar to your plan. Consider how many people are running similar websites, as well as how professional their websites look. This will help you to determine whether or not it’s worth setting up your own site, before you’ve invested too much in it.
To help ensure the success of your website, you should begin finding a niche market that you can target. You may be tempted to attract any and all customers that you can but you’ll actually have greater success targeting a very specific demographic. Think extensively about who your potential audience members are and what they would be most interested in. Then, you can begin to develop your website around these ideas.
2. Brainstorm Design Ideas and Figure Out What You Like
Once you’ve thought a little more about your site’s purpose, you should now think about your ideas for the design. You’ll need to consider the best way to present your message or to feature your products to audience members. Keep in mind that people tend to skim websites looking for something interesting or eye-catching, so make sure that the most important elements of your site are featured prominently.
The best way to figure out what you like is by looking at other websites. You can make a list of things you do and don’t like, in order to show your web designer. Look at the designs and colours of other websites, as well as their use of text or images. Think about the pages functionality, as well. This type of list can help you to get clear on what you’re looking for in your website and will also help your designer to implement your vision.
3. Determine Your Budget
Figure out what you can reasonably afford to spend on your website design and begin to look for designers in that price range. It’s best to contact a few web design companies ahead of time, in order to get an idea of general pricing. If the designers you talk to are telling you that your budget is too low, you may need to raise more money or lower the scale of your vision for the site.
Keep in mind that quality web design is not cheap. Too many people don’t put enough money into their web design budget and their sites suffer for it. If you want a website that will look professional and that will really engage your visitors, it’s important to set your budget realistically.
4. Research Your Options and Choose a Web Designer
Now you’re ready to begin searching for a web designer. Research your options and look for a web designer that has experience in building similar websites. Most web design companies keep an online portfolio where you can see examples of their past work and see their design styles. You can also check out reviews of designers on third party websites like Which Web Design Company. Again, it’s important to remember that quality web design requires an investment on your part. Web design is an area in which you truly get what you pay for.
Before hiring a web designer, make sure that you can communicate well with him or her. The designer will be an important part of your team as you work toward building your website and beyond. It’s also important that you and your web designer are able to see a similar vision so providing a detailed specification will be extremely helpful but we will cover that in a moment.
5. Work With Your Web Designer to Set Clear Expectations
Once you’ve hired a web designer, you should begin working together to develop a very specific idea of what the website will look like. Give the designer your list of what you do and don’t like, as well any particular elements it’s necessary for the website to have. Though the designer should be able to give you feedback about your design ideas and can offer great advice, it’s also important for you to directly communicate what you’re interested in. Some designers may try to persuade you to do things their way but stand your ground.
You should begin by giving the designer ideas about the general look and feel you want the website to have. Make notes about any specific colours or design elements you want, as well as the features it needs. Think about how many pages you’ll need for the website, as well as any content you already have or will need to develop. Working with a clear set of expectations can help the web designer to implement your vision quickly and on budget.
6. Launch Your Website and Begin Marketing Heavily
It’s a great idea to have your marketing strategy in place before you’re ready to launch the website. When launch day arrives, you’ll be ready to start off with a bang and begin receiving traffic instantly. You may want to write press releases to feature online or through local media. You can also utilize social media to spread the word about your website naturally through Twitter and Facebook.
You may also want to consider using Google AdWords and other pay per click advertising sites to build traffic to your website. Plan to spend around £300-£500 per month for the service so you get a good influx of traffic which will be essential to getting those orders flowing. It will help you to receive traffic instantly, which can help you greatly as you work to spread the word and promote your website. Even if the visitors you pay for don’t buy anything they may well tell others who will. If you want your website to be successful, it’s essential that you receive as many visitors as possible. If you’re having trouble getting traffic to your website, it will be difficult for you to make any sales.
7. Allow Time and Money for Search Engine Optimisation
Google AdWords is a great way to help you get started but it’s also important to use search engine optimisation, or SEO, to build organic traffic to your site. While AdWords will automatically place you at the top of search engine rankings with an advert you will have to continue doing that for ever. SEO can help you get to the first page of rankings naturally and eventually you will receive lots of traffic for free. This is important to increasing your traffic and building your site’s legitimacy and authority on your subject.
Be sure to budget the time and money for SEO. It’s not cheap and it can take 6-12 months to get your page to the first page of rankings for a number of keywords but it will generate a great amount of free traffic when you get there. It may cost about £300-£600 per month but SEO is truly the best way to start bringing in consistent traffic. Over time, your SEO efforts can help you build a reliable customer base and increase your sales. You’re website will now be a true competitor in your niche market and well on it’s way to success.
Lee Samson owns Samson Web Design, a website design company. Samson Web Design also offers ecommerce web design, web development & bespoke websites and search engine optimisation services for clients across the UK.