Here is a list of things you CAN do to make a good website:
- Always answer the question "WHY?" - This can be as simple as what makes you better than someone else. This also includes functions on your website. If you want someone to sign up for your newsletter, tell them why. Is it to get more information about your services? Is it to get weekly specials? What will they get for it?
- Use open source tools - You could go with a company that has a proprietary content management system, but then you are stuck with that company. What if they can no longer support your companies growth? Open Source solutions allow you to work with any developer and empowers you to manage your own site.
- Consider mobile devices - Who is your target market? Now a days most users have mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.), is your site friendly to mobile users? Should you consider a mobile app?
- Steal from your competitors - First thing you should do is look at your competitors websites. What do you like? You can always start with a basic design, like your competitors, and evolve it to your own during development.
- Content, content, content - We can not emphasize this enough. A majority of delays during the development cycle is lack of content. What makes your site better than the other is quality content.
- Write with "calls to action" in mind - Are you wanting to make a sale? Are you wanting them to stop by your store? If you post information about a sale, make sure you follow up with an action request. What you want them to do next.
- Set smart, realistic goals - When deciding to have a website, make sure you have measurable goals in mind. What do you want your website to do for you? Here are some examples: increase sales, generate more leads, reduce overhead, better customer support.
- Trust your web designer - If you think you can do it yourself why do you need us? We do this for a living and take great pride in our work. You do what you do for a living and need to trust that we are here to help you. If you don't trust your web designer, get a new one.
Here is a short list of things you SHOULDN'T do:
- Do it yourself - Obviously this seems a little bias since we are web designers, but we really mean it. We hope you want a professional website, done by professionals. If you want a homemade looking site, feel free to do it yourself.
- Make people think - Visitors want a simple, clean, intuitive website so they can find what they are looking for. Don't try to complicate this. Never allow design to trump function. If it takes to long to figure out your site, chances are they are clicking back to Google.
- Expect visitors - Lose the "million visitors overnight" mentality. Also lose the "I want to be number one on Google". Your site, like your business, does not grow overnight. It is just another marketing tool in your tool kit.
- Spend all your money - Of course we would love you to give us all your money, but that isn't realistic. Make sure you budget for your website and clearly communicate that budget to us so we are all on the same page. There is no reason you can't have a good, professional website without going broke.
- Expect a killer website overnight - Good websites take time, especially the content. If you need a website yesterday, we probably can't help you.
- Add Twitter and Facebook buttons - There is nothing wrong with social media, but it is very market specific. There are some companies that thrive in social media, but it is not for all. Ask yourself, do you want to post multiple times a day about your company? Is your company that busy? Sometimes companies waste time on social media with no return. We can discuss this with you in more detail.
- Try to please everyone - Thanks to user analytics we can learn who your users are, so we can pin point your design and function to your market. Don't try to have a one for all site, you might lose everyone.
- Use Flash - Flash is dead, newer devices don't support it, no website needs it.
- Add a blog - Similar to social media, are you really going to post something daily? If not, forget the blog. Outdated blogs can make your company look small or out of business.
Hopefully this has given you some food for thought, feel free to call, email or stop by if you have any questions.