TL/DR: When you come to your web developer prepared, there’s a better chance that your website’s turnover time will be much faster.
You’re coming to a web developer because you have specific ideas and goals in mind for how you want your website to look and what you want it to do. However, we’ve been building websites for a long time and we know what looks good, what makes sense for users, and what aspects will help your website rank well in search. Of course there are many variables that come with building a website, but many of them are fairly predictable. We put together a list of things we want you to know before we start building your website. This way, we can start the process on the right foot.
Your web developer wants you to…
- Have your goals clearly defined. Make sure you know the purpose of your website. Who is your audience or ideal customer, what are they looking for, and how is your website going to deliver it to them? Is your website going to be selling goods and services directly? Or is the intention to use this website as a tool to help people find you online? How will you measure success? Having these goals clearly defined will help all of us understand how to best approach building your new website.
- Prioritize user experience (UX). Remember, just because a website looks fancy doesn’t necessarily mean it’s UX friendly. Too much bouncing, scrolling and other gimmicky additions to your website aren’t always the best ideas. We are web design and UX pros– we know how the majority of people are using websites, what they gravitate towards, what they’re expecting to find and where. Let us be your guide in determining how a customer will navigate your website.
- Optimize for mobile devices (even if you mostly use your computer). The majority of internet users are doing so on their mobile devices. Of course, there are exceptions based on industry, demographics, etc. But for the most part, people are using their phones or tablets to access the internet. This means anything that gets built or edited on your website needs to be optimized for mobile users (responsive design). Even if you’re working from your business computer regularly, you should put the mobile user at the forefront of your mind. There are negative repercussions for websites who aren’t fully responsive for all devices.
- Plan your budget. It’s best to be as realistic as you can on what you can invest and commit to as far as costs for web development services. Check out our pricing breakdown to learn more about how to plan for this.
- Keep it simple. This goes for how your website is built and how it looks once it’s done. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your visitors with a website that feels cluttered and complex. We’re not going to clog up your website with unnecessary plugins, and we’ll give you the best advice on how to implement videos, photos, schedulers and more.
- Prioritize accessibility.It’s the right thing to do and it’s also become a necessary thing to do in order to rank well in search. It’s important to follow accessibility guidelines when it comes to building your website so anyone who wants to visit your website can do so with ease. This means we might have to make suggestions and changes when it comes to fonts, color choices and more.
- Have high quality photos and graphics. Whether you’re showing photos of your business, your team or your products, it’s important to have high quality photos ready before we begin building (or at the very least, get these photos taken at the beginning of the build). If you’re not sure what “counts” as a high quality photo, we can talk you through that process. Having high quality visuals is important for the speed of your website as well as being an integral part of the brand recognition process for visitors.
- Be ready to provide content (or pay extra to have it written for you). When we build websites, we build them with places for content to go, but we fill that space with what looks like gibberish. Although you can always fill in or add content later on after your website is built, your website will have a much more polished feel to it if you provide content before launch. This means writing about your business, the team, your products, your location and anything else a visitor might need to know about. Not a writer? Not a problem, we have writers on our team who can work with you to develop content that matches your brand and voice.
- Plan to invest in SEO. Our suggestion is always to get your website as optimized for search engines as possible right out the gate, but we know that this isn’t always possible for some small businesses. This is something we generally recommend to all clients as an added service because without optimization, there’s a slim chance that your brand new website will be found online organically.
- Understand that regular website maintenance is essential. We often say that building your website is the first step in an ongoing process, one that is never actually done. Having a webmaster on hand to address issues that arise, answer questions, as well as make updates and revisions is helpful in finding success with your website.
- *Bonus* Consider building a long-term relationship. Of course, we don’t want to be too needy or pushy, but when it comes to the websites we build, we love to maintain the relationship with the client over time, whether it be with ongoing monthly management or SEO services, or just a check-in. This way we can help provide ongoing support that is reliable and efficient (because we built your site and we know where we put everything). We are, however, just as happy to build you a website, hand it over and never speak again, but it’s much more fun to see a website and business grow over time 🙂
There is lots to know when it comes to creating your website. But these things are some of the important things to know as you start any web development project, whether it’s with SuCoWeb, or someone else. If you want to discuss any of these, or ask us more questions before you commit to building a website, we’re happy to help!