10 things you might not know about building and running your website
Building and maintaining a website is a lot of work, for us and you. Here are some things you might not already know.
1. It always takes longer than you expect.
We try to prepare as much as we can to help you get all the info together as quickly as possible. It's going to take up as much of your time as it does our time - so be prepared.
You'll spend time thinking about what you want the site to say, who you're targeting, writing and reviewing copy, taking and reviewing photographs, reviewing each page of the site, testing links and forms, and a whole pile of other things that come up throughout.
These little bits and pieces add up to a lot of time.
2. It's your site and there are just some decisions we can't make for you.
We can provide advice but ultimately we'll need you to make decisions right through the whole process of building your website.
3. Allocate a lot of time during the build.
If we can't get answers to our questions, or decisions made, or copy for extra pages, or photographs, or testing done when we need it, we need to stop your project and go on to another.Meaning that it may take some time to get back to yours.
We want to get your site online fast, so allocate some time during the build and we'll get it done so much faster!
4. Web designer speak can be confusing.
We try to speak as plainly as possible. What we do involves a lot of technical terms, if you don't understand, ask us! Or Google it.
5. Writing content is hard!
We can all write, right? Is it really that hard? Yes! The content on your website is one of the most important parts of your website. If your content is bad, visitors won't stay. It's important, and getting it right takes research and knowledge .... and time! Time to write, time to proof.
Not convinced? Have a go at writing an about us page.
Prepare in advance and it'll keep the website building process smooth.
6. Professional photography takes time.
Professional photography is a great idea to improve the look of your site. It shows that you're serious about your business. The down side is that if you don't already have a portfolio of images for your business then it can take quite a while to get professional images ready for your site.
Many photographers require bookings in advance and the turn around on image production can be weeks or months in some cases.
7. "Little" things can take a long time.
A lot of work goes in to building a website and making decisions and asking questions at the start can save all of us a lot of time, money and worry.
Just some of the things that go into building a website:
- Finding out about your business
- Developing a strategy, sitemap and wireframe to carry out business strategy
- Creating the graphic layout
- Creating graphic designs that appear within the site
- Writing content
- Developing the template
- Setting up the content management system
- Creating the pages
- Setting up menus
- Entering the content
- Optimising images
- Setting up the basic seo functions (meta descriptions, sitemaps, google analytics, error pages etc)
So when you ask for just one little colour change, or a new menu, or an extra 5 pages - these things can all take much more time than you expect. This could lead to delays and extra charges.
8. Shortcuts cost money!
If you're not good at something or don't have time to do it, get someone else to do it. We're not all great writers or photographers. You may think that this is a good way to save some dollars, but the trade off is that you may end up with a site that's unprofessional and unappealing - costing you money in the long run.
Do what you do best, and leave the rest up to the experts!
9. Great websites require constant attention.
A great website is one that engages your users and convinces them to do business with you. If you want a website that's like a flyer then by all means, get it going and forget it. If you want to be competitive, attract and retain business, you need to be constantly thinking about your site and adding value for your visitors.
10. We don't control Google!
There is a whole big bunch of factors that will determine how well you rank on Google.
The most important? Make your site useful.
- Think of who your perfect visitor is (usually the target market you're selling to)
- Think of which words they're searching for in Google that would lead them to you. Asking other people is the best way to do this!
- Write content for your website that includes these words and gives them a reason to visit your site. Your content needs to give them something they don't already have; an idea, a thought, a freebie, some information ... get the idea?
- Make all content on your website relevant and of value to your visitor. If an element on your website doesn't provide something to your visitors, does it really need to be there? Your website isn't about you, its about them!
The take homes...
For new websites: the more of this stuff you have nailed down before starting your website project, the faster and more smoothly the project will go with better results.
Keep your site relevant: look after your website and it'll look after you. It's a way to reach your audience, so keep giving them what they want.