Five things to do when preparing for a website build
Over the last five and a half years, I helped businesses build websites. In some cases, it was a brand new website, and in others, it was an update to an old, out of date, web presence. The internet is constantly changing, but one thing that hasn’t changed as quickly, are the things you need when preparing for a website build.
There is something to be said about having all of your ducks in a row prior to starting a project. My clients who came to me ready and willing had far better outcomes than those who didn’t. However, you might be surprised to know that about 90% of our projects fell into the latter category.
That’s why I’d like to start out by giving you a list of things to do, before starting your next website build.
Know The Competition
Do you know who your competitors are? It’s likely you do, because they are that business down the street who is always busy, or they’re showing up in Google ahead of you. Giving your web developer a list of your competitors can give them a great tool for making sure you stand out. If you don’t know your competitors or aren’t sure who to keep your eye on, make sure to work with a digital strategist who can help identify the likely candidates. This will help identify things like:
- How you can visually stand out
- What keywords they are already ranking for
- What site structure your visitors are already used to
- Missing information that will make you stand out as an expert
- and much, much, more.
Pick Your Keywords
Yes, your web developer or digital strategist should be able to help you pick out what keywords you want to rank for when preparing for a website build. However, knowing what you personally want to rank for can be just as important when preparing for a website build. Are you trying to brand yourself in a way that is different from your competitors? If so, your keyword might not match the data 100%, and that’s okay! There are strategies that can be employed to make sure potential customers find you when they hear about your not-so-common keyword. Additionally, your input can help your strategist determine what the industry lingo is. We’re not experts in your business, we’re experts in the web. Once we have your input, we’ll take that and expand upon it and make suggestions based on real search data. This will allow us to create a comprehensive list of keywords to build your site around.
Know Your Visual Style
When working with a freelancer or a small agency, it’s unlikely that you are going to be doing a full wireframe and mockup phase, nor are you looking to create something completely new that the world has never seen before. To keep your project running efficiently, come prepared with a list of websites you both like and dislike. These can be full sites, or they can be small elements within a site. Having those visual references can make the design process go faster. That’s important because it saves you money!
Create A Plan
This might not be something you come to the table with right away, but make sure you have a full plan. This means you need to know what it is you want, and what you want to have happen after your site goes live. If you’re working with a digital strategist, they should help you create this plan before the build even starts. You can’t get to where you’re going if you don’t know how to get there! It seems like a no brainer, but not everyone takes the time to really think through their goals before starting a web project. Doing this will certainly put you ahead of the rest.
Start Your Content Early
I cannot stress this one enough. The most common reason a website build is delayed is that the client didn’t have their content prepared. While most of us are happy to help you write it, that can significantly increase the cost of your project. If you have the budget, great! Most small business owners don’t, however, and because you are the expert in your business, it’s extremely helpful when you come into the project knowing how to describe your services. Here are a few pieces of content to consider:
- What is your 30-second elevator speech?
- Describe each of your services or products.
- How do you want people to contact you?
- What happens when someone submits a form on your website? What should they expect?
- Have one or two blogs written prior to launch.
- Gather testimonials or reviews from past or current clients/customers.
Website projects are no joke, but taking the time to prepare can make them seem less like a root canal, and more like going to your favorite candy store. If you need help with your next website and you’d like someone to walk you through your options, give me a ring. I can help you put together that plan, walk you through your content, or even dive right in and start building. You can always reach me at 952-373-1652 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.