Every business nowadays needs a website. But not every businessperson understands what kind of site he or she needs. Most guides for building a website begin with the phrase “Buy a domain and hosting,” but this is not the first step and definitely not the most important one.
At Outcrowd, we often find that some of our clients do not see a difference between types of websites and cannot clearly determine their goals. We are asked to create a project. Needless to say, we are always happy to help analyze what purposes a site should pursue, and what tasks to solve. However, the clearer a client is about a future project and its purpose, the more we can be sure that the work will immediately go in the right direction. A project should not be redone and edited due to the fact that something important has been missed. A drastic change in concept is the worst thing that can happen in the development process. Website optimization takes time and money. Information preparation helps to avoid such problems. So it should be the first item on the list of “Where to start making a website”.
There are two types of websites — a selling site and an informing site. The first type sells products and services or performs an advertising role for sales. The second one represents the company on the Internet. Its purpose is to provide information about the company’s activities. Figuratively speaking, the difference between these types of websites is the same as between a shopping center and an embassy. So it is important to determine what exactly you need.
This diagram clearly illustrates this difference:
The word website can be understood differently by a client and a performer. Some people are looking to build a website consisting of a couple of pages with information about the business and contact details, while others need a lot of software modules. At this stage, it is important to correctly draft technical specifications. It will allow you to fully agree on the resource requirements and the cost of each stage of work. For some people writing a Technical Task seems a boring formality, but this is a necessary step that will save you a lot of hassle in the future.
It all starts with a goal. Before you start building a website, be sure to formulate its main task, and decide what value it will bring to the visitors. In other words, what function this site will perform.
The purpose of the website determines its type, structure, content, timing, cost, and other details. Website goals differ: search for potential customers, direct sales through the website, promoting a company’s brand by promoting the website itself, attracting partners to cooperate, building the company image among its target audience, informing the audience about trends, and more.
Once you decide on the goals of your website, we recommend thinking about its contents. We have often seen companies begin to design their websites even before they have given any real thought to the information contents. This can negatively affect the website’s efficiency.
Some of our clients come perfectly prepared and armed with all the necessary information. Others do not know why they need to delve into the marketing jungle at all. Some people are scared of any kind of analysis. They think it is something boring and tedious they can do without. Unfortunately, you can’t do without it — if, that is, you need a good website. In such cases, we propose to do a market analysis together, which simplifies the process and allows us to avoid misunderstandings in the future. We are always happy to explain and tell you everything you need. Nevertheless, it is you who knows your business, its goals, and objectives best. The more preliminary information you collect, the better for your business.
Studying competitor websites is the best way to decide on a site and your tasks. Find as many of the best websites as possible from your point of view. Put yourself into the user’s place, assessing the website’s convenience, service, ease of contact, useful information about products and services. You can even place an order to understand all the advantages and disadvantages for yourself. Write down the addresses of the websites you like, along with your comments. Thus, you will receive a lot of valuable information for yourself and be able to give a clear task to the development team.
You may not like the style and appearance of competitor websites, but if these guys make money, then something works there. Your task is to try to understand what that is exactly. When studying websites, look not only at what competitors have but also at what they do not have. Perhaps it is you who can offer a unique or more convenient service.
There are many recommendations for identifying your target audience. They mainly have to do with gender, age, level of education, interests, and financial means. However, according to numerous studies and our own observations, psychological and motivational factors play a more important role. What would you like to interest your users in? How can you attract them and motivate them to buy your product (or perform the action you need on the website)?
Look at your website through the user’s eyes. What would you like to see on it? Would you like to buy/get what the website offers? Draw sketches and diagrams, try to show the most important thing.
You can conduct market research at your discretion — on your own, with the help of an agency, or together with a design/development team. The more information you collect, the better you can understand what your website needs and how you see it. A person armed with information is always successful in accomplishing their goals. Otherwise, there is a risk of being surrounded by people who pursue their own interests, not yours. If the performers ask you for a minimum of information for website development or say that they know perfectly well what is needed and ask you not to worry about anything — thank them and leave immediately.
They have no idea what you need, and they are not interested. Building an efficient website is not the same as making an order in a restaurant and waiting for it to be delivered. For someone, this may seem tempting, but the outcome will sorely disappoint you. The site does not look like what you wanted, it does not function as it should, and you can forget about conversions. It is created according to a template and does not take into account either your interests, the specifics of your business, or the interests of users. We cooperate with our customers at all key stages. Your participation in all important processes is a guarantee that your website will successfully fulfill its mission and not become deadweight on the server. This is what you should fine-tune at the preparation stage. Note, however, that any important discussions, revisions, and testing of the product will take time.
Consider the structure of the future project — which pages should be mandatory, what information should be placed on them in order to achieve your goals. No need to draw it in detail; the main thing is to show the general idea. Draw a schematic of the blocks that make up your website. You can make sketches on paper, then transfer it to a program if you want everything to look neat. It is advisable to make several options and think about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Have the scheme show what users want to see. Users should find answers to their questions on the website. If you build the site structure based on user demand, there will be much fewer problems with search engine promotion and conversion in the future.
The structure of an information website is usually quite simple.
The structure of a commercial website is more complex and branchу.
A selling website includes a number of necessary elements: Unique Trade Offer, product description block, advantages and benefits blocks, trust block, and call to action.
You should think about the website design in advance. It is the design that gives users the first impression of your offer. So it is important to create a positive impression. The design style should respond to the contents and work toward the website’s purpose.
The conversion of a website and the success of a business depend on how interesting, vibrant, and memorable the visual presentation is. According to statistics, poor or incorrectly chosen web design reduces the probability of selling products or services by 38%. That’s why choosing professional web designers is so important. Read the feedback and recommendations, and most importantly, study the portfolio. Every studio has their unique style for the websites they develop. You can view their customer cases and make sure the design style matches your ideas.
How to tell if the web design agency is professional? What web design agency should you choose?
Estimate the quantity and quality of the works performed by the web design agency. Usually they are placed in a web agency portfolio. You can visit some websites you like most from their portfolio and test their usability for yourself.
Thus, the process of preparing for website building is necessary and responsible. It is very important to think through all the nuances of the future website in advance to avoid the costs of redoing and refining it in the future. No less important is the choice of a good web studio that will help you bring your project to life.