Build a website with less hassle – 10 Things to Expect When Building A Website
With over 20 years of web experience, we have run into a wide variety of stumbling blocks along the way. We have grown to accept these, but it might prove useful for you to be aware of them. This way you can understand or even avoid them somewhat, when you speak to your web developer about a new website. Most people who are creating a website for a second time blame their first developer for any failing in their original site. Or they are of the opinion that web does not work for them or their business, because the first site did not perform well. Use that earned experience to guide you and help get better results this time. Start by writing a ‘Brief’, a plan describing what you want to achieve, what returns you want, set some goals and get this agreed before moving forward.
1. Wireframe or layout
Always get a wireframe or structural plan stroke drawing, before starting any build, to show the layout of the website pages in both desktop and mobile views, showing navigations and functionality etc. This is your plan or basic architecture.
2. Graphic Design mockup
Never start a website before you have signed off on any design theme or custom graphic design, where you can see what you are going to get. Do another mockup for any important pages.
Be aware that any changes to this graphic design will cost a bit more time and therefore money, but this is the right time to do any revisions.
Talk to all stakeholders, everyone who will be involved, who will use the website or who is involved in the decision making, then make one person the ‘go to’ contact for your web partners.
Talk to your own customers to see what they want in your new site, otherwise you are just guessing at what they want. Ask people what they like about your business, what do you do well. How can a website help deliver more value to your clients.
What do you have to provide to your web partners? Images need to be supplied and in a certain size and format. There may be a size for articles and another size for Galleries and yet another for sliders. There needs to be a naming convention and alt tags for all images.
Will there be any video content?
Any text required should be in a plain text version with no formatting.
5. Plugins – Grrrhh!
When it comes to functionality, will you add plugins or apps ? If a third party plugin such as a Booking Engine or Payment Gateway is required to be added or integrated to the website, it may cause issues taking up unforeseen time. The chosen website platform may not like the plugins or even the payment gateway supplied by your bank, so check it out in advance. There are thousands of apps or plugins, so choose one that has been well used and tested, with loads of positive reviews. If you use more than one plugin, they have to work well together, without causing any conflict.
These Apps are usually low cost and will probably do what they say, but may cost a lot of time and money to get configured to suit you by the third party developer.
Good websites always cost more than you expect and a low cost one will deliver poor results, poor performance and probably have to be redone again.
But the lost opportunity in the time wasted is the most expensive thing. Get it right first time, invest properly and get something that delivers results. Agree your budget with the developers and your payment plan.
How long does it take to get a good website done ? It always takes up more time than you think, to plan, design, develop and test. Expect 1 or 2 weeks for planning discussions with your web partners to get web brief done, 2 or 3 weeks for design and revisions, 3, 4 or 5 weeks for development and 2 or 3 weeks for testing. So plan for two to three months.
8. Developer or Web Design Agency
If you use a one man band, you can expect a lower quotation, but what if that one man goes on holidays or moves to Australia or gets a more sane job.
Work with an agency or team, who will be around for the long haul to support you. A team will bring more experience and added value, plus a multiple of qualified opinions and useful input.
Plan how you will cover the cost of your investment. How many extra sales per month will be required. Set targets – what do you want ? Think about it and agree them with your web partners. Review after 3 and 6 months. Work on your website never ends.
David Ogilvy once said “There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of whiskey, or cigarettes or beer. They are all about the same. And so are the cake mixes and the detergents, and the margarines. The manufacturer who dedicates his advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for his brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.” The same applies to websites, the company that invests in doing it right will get the lions share of the business. It is a lot easier in 2018 to determine or measure results of your marketing spend, so you can ensure a good return on any reasonable investment. Set some realistic targets with your chosen web partners.
10. Bumps – be aware of them
Web is complicated, so there will be bumps – expect them and work with the web partners to iron them out. Knowledge is power, the more you know BEFORE you start your web journey, the easier it will be on your blood pressure! Don’t forget, the end result will be great, so the odd bump or obstacle will be worth it, just like building a house or opening a retail shop.
Tip: Sign up to a clearly defined and suitable Support Plan for your website, to ensure that software updates are applied regularly to your platform and any plugins. Otherwise the website will fall apart and cause endless issues for you or simply not perform to its best ability.
If you get this stuff right, you can look forward to getting great returns from any investment of time or money and things can run smoothly. Any questions?