Creating a website can sometimes feel like building a house: we envision what our dream home should look like, where it should be located, how many rooms it should have...but how exactly do we get started? There’s so much information, so many different terms and possibilities, and not understanding exactly how things are built can sometimes be overwhelming and daunting.
But fear not. When it comes to websites there are only 5 things you need to know to get started:
1 - Purpose
This is the most important thing and everything else will somehow follow what you define as the main goal for the website or platform that you want to create: Is it to sell a product or a service? To showcase your work and attract new clients? To promote an event or institution? To educate on a certain subject? Or maybe to build a community around a topic?
The answer can obviously be an hybrid of a couple of these and others, but above all, you need to be able to answer this question: What would be my website's definition of successful?
Depending on your answer your needs can vary from an e-commerce website, an internal dashboard, an online portfolio, a social network or forum, a fintech platform, a simple static website, or once again, a hybrid of a couple of these options.
2 - Design
After defining its goal(s) it is also important to have an overall idea of how you want things to look and feel to guide the designer or company that will create it. In this step, it helps to focus on a couple of things:
- Your audience: the one you have or the one you wish to have. What defines them? Are they mostly women or men, kids or adults, formal or casual and above all, what are or could be the reasons for them to come and visit/use your website?
Your brand: if you already have a brand, you need to focus on its mission, vision and what differentiates it. If you don’t have a brand yet, or feel it needs to be refined, don’t worry. Building a brand and a website are projects that can be done in parallel.
Key functionalities: besides static content, what type of functionalities do you envision for your website? A shopping cart, a contact form, a news page, a photo gallery - possibilities are endless! Always try to go back to the 1st step - your goal - when defining key functionalities. It will help.
And references: if you have sites that you like (or hate), sometimes it's easier to explain what we intend by using references: for example, websites where you feel exactly how you want your visitors to feel.
3 - Content
A beautiful and functional website is nothing without the right content - Content is king! Text, images, videos, infographics or data, e.g., are what will communicate your message to your audience. Once again, there are a couple of things you should focus on:
- The type of content: what type of content do you want or need to include on your website to reach its main goal(s) and match your design ideas? Will you be using existing content (which might impact the previous step - design) or creating it from scratch?
Its management: you also need to think about how this content will be created and maintained. You need to balance the content you want to share and create with the resources you have or can afford to create them. There are several powerful tools you can use to ease this process, such as the CMS tools Wordpress and Drupal.
Its relevance: after defining the type of content you want to have and how it will be created and maintained, you need to take into account the attention span of the internet users. Internet users consume an enormous amount of information on a daily basis, so their attention needs to be triggered and what they receive needs to be relevant for them.
4 - Budget & Deadline
As with any other project, budget and deadline are two delicate factors that you always need to consider.
Ideally, both match your expectations, but it can be hard to understand exactly how much a website can cost and how long it will take to build it. So for this, I would suggest moving to step number 5.
5 - Break The Ice!
If you want to build a house, start by calling an architect, and if you want to build a website, give us a call, send us an email or simply stop by for a cup of tea with honey. Share your dream, explain your doubts, ask your questions, even if you don’t know exactly what to ask.
Our goal is to always find a balanced solution that takes into consideration all these different aspects. Omibee is a friendly team that does more than provide services: we take pride in collaborating, sharing knowledge, and discussing ideas.