To some people, building a website is as simple as buying a domain name and passing through some drag and drop procedure. However, the question is, will the site achieve your goal as an entrepreneur? At the end of the year, does it give a return on investment?
Roughly, 80% of companies have a bad experience building their website, why? Because they do not understand that building a website is like building a commercial building; if you want to have a successful project, you need to follow a distinct plan, not to mention having a sound architect.
If you want your website to serve as a central foundation of your company’s marketing strategy, you need to have an effective website development plan. Here are some website tips that clients like Boniface Mwangi have found helpful.
Best Practices for Building a Website
(i) Researching and planning a successful built
Skipping the research and planning stage is a terrible mistake; it is what will determine the success of your website. The research phase begins with understanding the goals of the site:
- Determine what you want the website to achieve
- Ask your team what they will need for you (content, pictures, privacy policies)
- What’s your plan for marketing your website?
After collecting all the information and ideas, you need to conceptualize and organize it appropriately; this will help you to;
- Create map of the site (Learn more about website maps
- Decide what type of technologies you will need
- Determine the bandwidth required
- Create mock-ups (learn more about mock-ups)
- Plan your content.
(ii) Getting the Design right
The design stage is pretty much straightforward since you will be using the information already gathered above. With all the information collected at this time, it is easy to come up with a look and feel that fits your target audience. The design phase will incorporate elements such as your company’s logo, colors that strengthen your identity and other critical details. The web designer can be of great help at this stage, but communication at this phase between both of you is very critical to ensure the appearance of the site match your client’s need and taste.
The two core phases in development are the front end and the back end of your site. The front end is the design and determines the user experience, while the back end is the foundation that makes the site stable and efficient. This is a stage where SEO matter most, so you might need to be keen on this juncture.
(iv) Testing the site for performance
Before your site is launched, it will be displayed on a test server where only specific audience and anyone who has the the link can view it. Testing stage is critical since there will be one or two issues that will inevitably need to be addressed. This is also the stage where you can invite beta users, Google usually does this to create anticipation for the products and also to get feedback from unbiased users.
At this stage the site has already been tested by your developer, you have approved it, and other stakeholders have agreed, now the site should be ready to launch. The primary domain will be registered, and you will be signed up for a web hosting services. We often advise our clients to create a clear picture of what they do, who they are targeting and what problems they solve during this stage. This helps to attract the right visitors to the website and increases chances of getting higher returns on the investment made.
The development of the website is not over yet, just like the commercial building, your website will need to be maintained; it needs to be updated with new content based on changing customers’ preferences, or with the aim to bring more customers consistently. Many web designers will offer some maintenance services at a reduced rate, so it is important that you shop around. If you prefer to do it yourself, there is something called Content Management System (CMS) found in different platforms such as WordPress. This is a great tool to if your website requires frequent update of content, for example if you have a blog or frequently post customer testimonials.
I really enjoy building websites and watching them grow. I hope that this information will be helpful to you as you venture into the world of online marketing. Do you have any questions about planning for a website?