What do to do before you design a website?

What do I do before I engage a web developer or designer to build a website? 5 things to remember when starting on a website project

1. Why – Determine why you might want a website. To promote your products or services, to sell online, to educate etc. Have you done your projections and research to determine that there is a market for whatever you plan to offer? To sell to tell, to save time, to advertise, to educate or what exactly. Write this up in a Brief or website strategy document to agree so that everyone is on the same hymn sheet.

2. Platform – Decide what type of website is required at this time, as in size and quality of design input. Is it to be bespoke or open source, small or enterprise, purchase or SAAS. Is it an open source platform like WordPress with loads of plugin options to add functionality in the future. This ideal for a business. Or is it a proprietary one like Wix or Squarespace where it is very easy to set up, but you have a lot less control or options. This is ideal for a hobby website. Who will know how to use it, whatever it may be?

3. Plan – Create a wireframe or layout, a site structure and a navigation structure to allow visitors find their way around the site with ease, even on a mobile device.

4. Content – Create whatever content is needed, in terms of text, images, video etc. All the content needs to be prepared before you get started. Once the wireframe is in place start talking with the graphic designer and put some flesh on the bone, before moving to the developer.

5. Budget – You will need a budget, before engaging any professionals. Get a guesstimate or estimate for the investment needed for the entire project to include Brief, R&D, Design, Development, Digital Marketing, Training and Maintenance. If the cost is more than you can currently afford, consider doing the project over a number of phases, to stage the payments. Or get enough investment to allow you do it right.

If you were building a house you would do all these things, so why not do it with your website? Look for a web design agency who can bring together all the things you need, planning, design, development, digital marketing, training and maintenance. Most will not offer all services competently, unless you have the budget to use a huge agency. A good web design agency will do what they are good at and bring in the other talent to ensure the success of your project.