You Know You Need a Website – How You Get Started:

When hiring a professional to handle your website build, you will need to be able to answer these questions during your first meeting. Spend some time going over your content & goals if these items are not clear to you immediately.

Why are You Creating this Website? :

What are the Lofty overall goal(s) of your website? What do you want users to accomplish while on your website? Is your purpose to sell a service / product or to provide information to visitors or is the purpose more of an application? Or are you the next big blogger looking for that customized solution to create a compelling experience? Write down your and keep all your ideas for this project together in a folder (online, desktop, or physical). This helps keep organized & focused on the information gathering for your Website.

Domain Name (.com) & Hosting:

The very first thing you will need to do is register a Domain Name. A domain name is basically your address on the Web that enables people to find you. You should have a similar name to your business, product, or service. This will help reinforce your brand identity with people. Keep it short if you can. There are now thousands of new Top Level Domains available to people as of 2016. You can have industry specific or something whimsical, or even use it to complete a word or your name.

Second thing to do find is Hosting. This is a special computer that stores and delivers your website to the world. If you are not sure of the requirements of this item on the list don’t worry, you can always ask your developer for a recommendation. If you already have hosting or your organization self-hosts, bring that information with you so that you can go over that with the professional.

Who is coming to this Website? :

The answer of “Everyone, Anyone” is not how it works or the web. Just like when deciding on traditional advertising, you will be targeting a specific demographic. You should know who your primary user is. What is their age, their location in comparison to you, whether they are a man or woman, their reading level, and/or income level? What do they want from you? And lastly, what would motivate them want to contact you?

Branding & Color Scheme:

Choose your colors carefully, keeping your target audience in mind. What would appeal to them? Remember that colors represent emotions and perceptions. Are you aiming for Elegant, Fresh, Loud, or some other feel? Remember when you see a website that has a color scheme or any other element that you would like for your site be sure to write it down.

If you choose a background color other than white for your website, make sure you choose a text color that is easily read on that background color for accessibility and ease of use. It is recommend to use an easy-to-read font for the majority of your text, with fancy fonts limited to headings and subheadings.

What Will Your Website Do? :

The scope of what your project can change a lot of things for the web team. Knowing what the end result is when you sit down with your developer can save you loads of money as well. With a clear vision, you do not have to pay for round after round of changes. Also in a year you won’t need a redesign because you forgot to mention that you wanted to sell your products, not just display the details and examples.

What type of website is it?

  • Company website
  • E-commerce
  • Informational / Wiki
  • Blog
  • Community Museum
  • Non-Profit
  • Educational
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Temporary Special Event
  • Web Application
  • Or something else???

 

Content – Are You Ready? :

You are responsible for providing the content of the website, weather from a feed, content you will provide or another website. You will need to supply your designer & developer with at least a sample of the content. This doesn’t have to be pages of text or thousands of images, as a start begin with your branding. Then go through your main pages such as: homepage, about, products &/or services, and the contact page content. This will give something to the team to work with, as they build out your website templates & editing capabilities. If you require additional types of pages created later, your designer is always happy to do them later. Also get your media ready. Gather your logos, product pictures, and all other relevant images in 1 folder and labeled as to what they are.

The Budget:

You need to have an idea of what are you willing to spend on the project. Consider the fact there is design, development, testing and post launch expenses, as well as monthly hosting costs and on what type of advertising budget you are allotting for your website.

Involvement with the Project:

Your involvement in the project will determine its overall success. You should be able to commit between 4-6 hours minimum per week for communications, meeting, reviews and approvals. The faster you sign off, the developer can get back to work. Try and schedule weekly meetings (in not more frequent) to go over completed work, progress toward completion and are we all still on schedule for launch.