If you’re thinking about jumping in and getting a new website it can be a bit scary. Depending on what you need and the size of your business, your costs could range from £1,000 to £100,000 and you have no idea when you’re gathering quotes which one is the right one. Do you go with the cheapest and hope for the best? Or the most expensive and hope that you’re not being ripped off??
Linards get it. Most of our clients don’t really know, and it’s our job to help them find out and understand exactly where the value lies in a new website and what it will mean for your business. So we’ve compiled a handy list of some of the important things you need to look at when you want a new website, why they are important and why they offer you value for money.
It’s one of the smallest cost factors in your new website, but probably one of the most important. Choose wisely as an easy-to-remember domain name can make the difference between people finding you and not finding you. We’ve lost track of the amount of times we’ve “guessed” at a domain name (because it would have taken us so much longer to type it into Google…) and been delighted when we get it right. If you have a long name, or it’s got abbreviations and hyphens in it, sit down and plan how it looks in different formats, with numbers, with hyphens etc. This decision is really quite huge, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Having a really simple, effective domain name can have a big impact on your search engine rankings, ease of being found by customers and being remembered by them. Be a bit more nike.com than sportswearforall-adults.com (we made that one up…)
Where do you start? There are so many providers out there that promise the world and when you have a problem, the world seems to have disappeared. Your web design agency should be able to help you navigate this minefield, and if they can’t then you need to ask why. Depending on your site’s needs, there are different hosts that can help you in different ways. If you’re an e-commerce site then you want a host that really knows this area, rather than one that specialises in magazine websites. The value in getting a great host, that knows your industry, is that when something goes wrong it can be fixed quickly and with a minimal amount of input from you. So think about your options when they are presented to you, don’t just go with the cheapest as it could mean a major headache in the long run (and lots of money spent changing host).
Content Management System
We’ve seen it all. CMS systems that someone from NASA would struggle to use to ones that are so easy, you actually want to kiss them. Choosing the right system can save you hours and hours of work, money and sanity. This is something that you should look at before you decide on your design agency. Ask them what systems they use, do they have demos that you can play around with? How well is it supported? It might seem like an arduous task but when you have to use that system every day then you want to be able to use it without wanting to scream at it. Get it right, and a user-friendly CMS system will be invaluable to you and your business. Easy to train people on, easy to upload and change content and easy to adapt as your business grows so that you won’t have to change website again in a few years’ time. That’s money in the bank.
It’s a big one. The design is essential to your website’s success. If your business is specialist, bespoke and really niche then it’s likely that an out-of-the-box site just won’t cut it. This means you’ll need specialist coders and designers who can interpret your needs. Creating a design that gives your website a logical flow, that’s easy for users to understand and use will increase its popularity and visitor numbers. This investment will also allow you to add as you go, so that when you need to grow the answer will be “Yes we can build that” instead of “No, the template won’t allow that.” If you are choosing an out-of-the-box option, then ask what flexibility there is to adapt and customise it. This will allow you to get a feel for the possibilities and limitations. Great design is a solid investment that has the potential to grow your business – if people love your site then they will come back.
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO is crucial to any website. Any self-respecting design agency will have a handle on this aspect of a website build and will help you to understand it too. SEO is a search engines way of understanding if your website is relevant to people. Back in the old days (ok, about 10 years ago…) SEO was based all around keywords, so people stuffed their websites full of keywords that would make them show up in searches. Google still works in this way a bit, but it has recently become very clever and actually now penalises websites that have too many keywords, as it flags it as spam. So now, it really is an art-form. Careful creation of the sections of your website, balanced with expert coding and a clever approach to keywords is vital. It’s the difference between sitting pretty at the top of Google or lurking down on page five – getting this bit right is invaluable to you and your business.
Often the last bit that people think about. But what is the content on your website going to look like? This aspect sits very closely with SEO, as the two should be working hand-in-hand to help boost its appeal to search engine robots that are ranking it and real people who are actually reading the stuff and searching for it in the first place. Creating quality content that speaks to the needs of your customers, and potential customers, will convert people who are on your site. A solid investment? Think of some of the worst websites you’ve seen – why didn’t you like them? Chances are, it wasn’t the way it looked but the ease of usability and you couldn’t find what you were looking for. Good content will be your guide, clearly signposting visitors where they need to go to get what they want and telling them all about it when they get there. Investing at an early stage in your content will mean that consumers will like what they read and be more likely to get in touch.
There is so much to think about when taking the plunge and getting a new website and it can seem like an awful lot of money as an initial outlay. But, with your website able to reach thousands of people at the click of a button, we reckon its money in the bank for any business that’s serious about growth.
We at Linards hope the above has given you an insight to the world of websites and its Pro’s and Cons, hopefully you will make your own mind up, but if not we are always here to listen and advise, contact us here.