In order to efficiently and effectively build a new website for your business, you'll want to do a little research and preparation first. Below are a few factors to consider before any design or development begins on your new website.
- Determine your online goals. Before building a new website, you should outline your company’s online marketing strategy and your objectives for the new website. Some questions to consider: Do you want to obtain leads and new business from the website? Are you selling anything direct to consumer? Do you want to track traffic on certain areas of your website or leads to conversion? Are you simply looking to represent your business in a professional manner? Answering these questions and outlining your online marketing strategy will better help your marketing agency to define the website based on your company's individual needs.
- Research a search engine optimization strategy. It is important to speak with your clients about search engine optimization strategy for the new website before development so that it can be built directly into the website. You do not necessarily need to write the full website content just yet, but doing research on keywords, search terms, speed optimization and registering the business with Google are all important pieces to not only your website, but your online presence as a whole.
- Determine website functional requirements. Does your website need to do something special? Connect with your email platform? Sell and checkout products or services online? Allow users access to a portal? Book appointments? These are all very specific functional requirements that will need to be determined, if possible, at the quoting stage of a web project, but definitely before design and development begin. Each piece of the functional requirement needs to be considered from design, development and content management perspectives.
- Build out your sitemap. It’s important to know the scope of website size and high-level content structure. A designer can’t plan for space to connect to other website pages if they don’t know they exist! Building out your sitemap will be a roadmap for design and development for the number of templates and layouts they build into your website theme.
- Determine the CMS that is right for you. There are a lot of content management platforms on the market today- Wordpress, Drupal, Telerik, Marketpath, Hubspot, and many more; each with their own features, functionality, plugins, themes, development standards and support teams. After you have answered questions 1-4, a development team will be able to assist you in identifying suitable content management platforms for your particular functional requirements, marketing goals and website needs. You will also want your website editor to weigh in on this decision and test the front end experience, as they will be the ones maintaining and updating the website content going forward. Each CMS has its own benefits and features, so it is important to determine your needs first and then find a software that aligns with your goals.