As we have just launched a new dedicated site to promote and sell our website services (websites.itmonkey.ie), we thought it would be a good time to discuss what you should think about when you are having a website built for your business.
Here are some points worth considering…
APPEARANCE / STYLE
How do you want your customers to see your business? Would a ‘corporate’ appearance or a ‘family run’ appearance be more attractive to your customers? First impressions are very important online. For example, a website with a similar appearance to an internet banking site would be inappropriate for promoting a grocery shop.
Have you already developed a brand or logo that has been used on marketing material for your business in the past? If yes, you should continue to use your existing colours and logo so that customers will recognise your business online. If you are unhappy with your existing brand or logo, an overhaul or even a complete redesign of your brand may be worth considering. If you have no brand or logo, they are a key element to giving your business distinctive and professional appearance.
Even if you are only starting out in a new business, you probably have your business name sorted out by now. The domain name is the website address that will be used to access your website. It should ideally match the business name exactly, but sometimes abbreviations can be the way to go. Avoid hyphenating names. Also, think about the suffix you would like to use (for example: .ie, .com, .net… etc.). Note that to register a .ie domain, your business must be registered in the Republic of Ireland. Also, each domain name is subject to availability.
Businesses look for websites to increase sales. How can the website increase your sales? Would the best approach be to advertise your products/services and allow customers to contact you? Would it be better if they filled out a form with their details and you were to contact them? Would it be best to sell direct from the website and post out products?
Are you running on a tight budget? If your budget is likely to restrict you to a smaller website, you need to prioritise your needs and make sure your primary goals can still be met.
Who will be using your website? It is important to know about your target audience. In particular the target age-group and background. For example, a website designed for children will differ greatly in appearance and layout to a website designed for professional mechanics.
Typical content would include: Info about your business, Product & service information, Testimonials, Blog, Contact details & form. You should categorise the pages of your website by the information you want to have on each. Keep in mind that your homepage should not be treated as an area for website content. It simply acts as a navigation point to get users to the information they are seeking.
The content itself is your responsibility. This includes any information that you want on your website. For example: text, images, sounds or downloadable material. When writing your text avoid long-winded paragraphs, keep to the point and consider using bullet points where appropriate. Don’t use copyrighted material that is not your own.
Do you want to be able to communicate to your customers through your website? A blog page allows you to update and add information to your website. This could be useful for announcing special offers, new products or general news about the business.
How will users find your website online? When using search engines like google or bing, what do you think most people would type to find services like yours? Make a list of words that are relevant to your business and what you offer. For example, a sweet shop in Naas might use: Naas, Sweets, Cola Bottles, Candy… to mention a few. Your web designer can add these to your website as keywords to improve the performance on search engines.
AFTER YOUR WEBSITE GOES LIVE
Your website may attract customers without any assistance once it goes live, but it is a good idea to get the word out there and market your new website. Adding your web address to your business card, any promotional fliers or advertising you are using is a must. If you promote your business on any social media websites, add a link to your “New Website”.