9 Things To Do Before You Create Your Website
How to be prepared to avoid delays and enjoy the process.
Have you been putting off building or redesigning your website because you don’t know where or how to start? Don’t worry, we’ve created a short to-do list for you that will get your ideas flowing, make your design steps sure, and set you up for a smooth, delay-free website build.
1. Research and write down what you find.
Spend time combing through the internet to get an idea of what is relevant, easy to use, and suits your needs. And make some lists:
- Find your competitors. Make a list of what you like and don’t like about their websites.
- Find websites that you do like and write a list of why you like them.
- Discover where your clients and customers are online. Find what websites they like to read and use, what social media they’re on, and what sort of content they’re reading and sharing. That will give you some idea of what your website should look like and contain.
But the key is to save that information somewhere. Not only is that invaluable to your future marketing efforts, but the CY web design team will need that info before they can begin the project.
2. Determine your why.
A website without a purpose is a huge waste of money. So ask yourself, why do you want to have a website? What will its purpose be? Here are a few ways a website can be purposeful (and, by the way, you can have more than one purpose 😀):
- Sell product
- Collect email addresses
- Build a community of like-minded people
- Share useful resources
- Schedule meetings or events
If you’re just wanting to post your hours of operation and contact info, a website might not be the project you’re looking for. But if you’re looking for engagement with your clients and customers, the answer to your why will help guide the entire design and build of your website.
3. Figure out what actions/engagements you want.
Speaking of engagement, think about how you’ll get people to interact with your site. In the marketing world, this is called your Call to Action, or CTA. Make a list of ways you’d like your visitors to engage. Here’s a short list to get you thinking:
- Call or email
- Schedule a meeting
- Pin an image to Pinterest
- Share a blog post
- Tweet a phrase from a blog
- Sign up for a newsletter
- Make a purchase
- Leave a comment
- Download a free resource
4. Think about how people will find your website.
Consider the ways you’d like to direct people to your website once it’s live. Will you have social media that links with your website? Are you going to blog? Will you connect with other bloggers? Do you plan to advertise online? Sketch out some ideas and we can help you integrate them into your design.
5. Choose your domain name.
Choosing your website address can actually be one of the hardest things to decide. You’re going to want to pick a name that is short, easy to pronounce and spell, and, ideally, contains your name and possibly, what you do in it, AND it can’t already be taken. Not only will it be easy for people to remember, but it will be easy for search engines to know how to find you. For example, if you are a plumber located in Kearney who specializes in quick response times, something like www.kearneysquickplumbing.com would be a good domain name to consider.
6. Collect your logo and any branding guidelines
If you have branding already, our graphic designers will need whatever files you have before they can start designing your layout. If you don’t, that’s ok too. We’ll be able to walk you through the branding process and craft your ideal image.
7. Get high-quality images.
The internet is a visual place. Make sure you have photography that reflects your business well and is of high quality. We recommend either hiring a photographer or investing in great stock imagery.
8. Gather testimonials, Google reviews, and Facebook recommendations.
Testimonials, ratings, and reviews are a powerful way to build credibility online. So take a minute and reach out to clients you’ve had before or customers who enjoy your product and ask them why they like what you’ve done. We often include great testimonials in your website design to help build trust for your business.
But even more powerful is to start building your reputation on Google and Facebook. Encourage your best clients and customers to go to Google reviews and Facebook and leave ratings and reviews. Not only is this great for PR for your business, but it also sets you up for great SEO once your site is live. To learn more, read our post 3 Easy Ways to Stay on Top of Your Reviews.
9. Sketch out the basic pages you want and what you might want on them.
In the beginning, you may not be totally sure what you want to include, but make a list of the pages you know you want for sure and any information that needs to be included. If you plan to write out your content yourself, it’s never too early to start working on that. Otherwise, you can work with one of our copywriters. 🙋♀️
Copywriters make your to-do list shorter
Your to-do list will look a little different if you choose to work with a copywriter. They’ll spend about an hour with you and be able to take care of:
- Your unique selling proposition (USP). Sometimes as business owners or project managers, you can be too close to what you’re selling. Copywriters can bring an outsider’s perspective for clarity on what sets you apart from your market.
- Your site map. They’ll organize your message and content in the best possible way and then outline what each page should say.
- The actual content on each page. From your history to bios, that work will be off your plate.
- Testimonials. They’ll write up a short questionnaire for you to send to your clients, and then edit the responses to create testimonials that are an appropriate length and easy to read.
- Your CTA’s. They’re trained to sell with words so they’ll create calls to action that are compelling and fit in with your engagement goals.
What you DON’T have to do when you partner with Control Yours.
Last, when you work with us at Control Yours, there are a bunch of things that you don’t have to think about since we take care of them for you:
- Design and build the website
- Test the website for quality control
- Compatibility across browsers
- Mobile optimization
- Email addresses
- Setting up and tracking Google analytics
How do you feel now?
Is the mystery gone? Are you ready to choose a task and make this project happen? The good news is that even if you’re still unsure, by picking up the phone and giving us a call, we can help you get the ball rolling by asking a few key questions and walking you through the process.
Click here to set up a meeting in person or over the phone with David, our fearless leader, or Kacia, our unparalleled project manager.