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Things to consider before creating a website.

In today’s digital era, setting up a web presence for your small business is crucial. Before you embark on your website project, here are several factors to consider that will aid in successful implementation. Proper planning before creating a new website will help ensure you establish a foundation to engage potential customers, clearly explain services, and convert visitors into clients. It will also lay a strong foundation for future changes and ensure the longevity of the website.

How to create a website

Website Design Project

Manage your expectations

If you’re expecting to create a quality website for your business in just an afternoon, or even a few days, you need to reconsider moving forward. Think of it like constructing a new building: you need to engage the right experts, plan thoroughly, budget according to the quality you desire, understand the timeline, and comprehend what you’re getting. Similar to constructing a building, your website requires a solid foundation, which comes from understanding what you want and how long it will take to achieve it. Thorough upfront planning and understanding the costs involved will help achieve the desired results in the end.

Understand the competition

Understanding who your competitors are and what they offer can help make your website stand out. It allows you to create content that distinguishes you and resonates with your customer base. By identifying areas where your competitors are weak, you can focus on those to gain a customer base. You can observe the website elements your competition uses and use them to develop your own. Additionally, assessing any threats posed by your competitors can help you develop strategies to counter them. This knowledge will help you be realistic about your potential for success.

Have a solid brand identity

Brand identity builds strong customer relationships, increasing repeat purchases. It helps customers recognize and choose a brand over others. A strong brand, like Nike, is easily remembered and recognized, even by competitors. A healthy brand identity inspires customers to go the extra mile, driving further for a purchase or recommending the brand to others. It’s the key to making a company stand out and lead the competition.

Identify and understand your target market

Your target market shapes your entire website strategy — from product or service content development and naming to the keywords used for search engine identification. Your target market is rarely “everyone.” There are key demographics that form the majority of your customer base, while “everyone” else represents a smaller percentage. Your aim when defining your target market is to comprehend and pinpoint the relevant niche of customers so you can dominate it. It involves narrowing your focus while expanding your reach.

Set your website goals

What are the primary goals for your website? What do you want your users to do? Learn about your services? Make a purchase or appointment? Do you want to increase sales? Encourage newsletter subscriptions? Raise awareness of new products or deals? Call you? Identifying your primary and secondary goals will help you create a website that aligns with them. A website without clear goals can confuse and overwhelm users, leading them to leave your site.

Every page on your site — including all content, photos, and design elements — should be planned to guide users toward your goals and help them find the information needed to achieve them. It’s important to identify your goals before developing your website.

A good starting point is to write down your website objectives. For each objective, specify the metrics you’ll use to track them. These well-defined objectives will assist in establishing your goals and should be central in creating your website plan. After setting your goals, break down each desired website element into actionable steps. For example, if you aim to increase sales, you might consider adding a pop-up offering a special discount. Then, develop a realistic timeline to implement the elements that support your goals.

Identify SEO Keywords

You aim to attract customers through search engines, which requires your website to rank well for specific keywords or phrases. This will help capture your target market when those customers are searching online. Identify 3-5 target keywords related to your products or services. Ensure that these keywords relate to your target market. Then, incorporate these keywords and keyword phrases (long-tail keywords) throughout your website content. Headers, page content, image descriptions, and metadata should all contain the specific keywords you are targeting. This will establish a strong foundation for search engine optimization (SEO) when you launch your website.

Plan out your website

Once you’ve established clear goals for your website, understand your target market and have identified your keywords, you can start planning your website. This involves determining what pages, content, elements, images, supporting content, products, services, etc., you will use. A sitemap can assist in laying out the website’s navigation, organizing content in an understandable and usable manner, and ensuring that all pages are included. Wireframes can help in understanding page layout, incorporating website elements, and ensuring proper content flow.

With a plan in place, you’ll be ready to start building the site, curating content, and gathering images. Remember, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Create your content

Write all your content before creating your site. Refer to your sitemap to ensure it covers all necessary information without repetition. Your copy should be clear, easily understood, and valuable to your customers. Make sure important details about what you offer and what sets you apart are easy to find. Proofread for typos and poor grammar, as these can deter visitors and make potential clients question your service quality.

Gather images relevant to your target market and consistent with your brand. Develop additional content for the website, such as product details, service descriptions, and biographies. Review this content and integrate it into your wireframes to ensure it aligns with your goals and fits the planned site structure.

Identify analytics tools

Web analytics offer many benefits that, when used effectively, can provide your business with insights crucial to your website’s success and its alignment with your goals, thus impacting your company’s overall success. You can establish metrics to track and ensure your website is meeting your goals. Additionally, analytic tools allow you to track keyword ranking, page views, and web channels over time, enabling you to make consistent adjustments and continue capturing customers.

Deciding which tools to use enables you to implement them when the site goes live, ensuring you start collecting relevant and important data from day one.

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