Having a successful website depends on how well your site is planned.
The most important things to consider when planning a website are the purpose, design, content, structure, coding, SEO and hosting.
These “seven steps” to a successful website are outlined below.
The most important function of any website is it’s purpose. A successful website must have a function in the day-to-day operation of your business otherwise there is little point in spending your time and resources in building and having one.
Before building your website take into consideration what it’s primary function will be. Examples of the types of purposes that a website can have are online sales, business promotion, news portals, customer retention and lead generation.
Once your website has a purpose, the next step is the look and feel. To ensure your website is successful you have to take into consideration things like colours, font styles, page layout and graphics.
Have a look at your competitors websites to see how they present their business. Think of websites you regularly visit – which designs do you like and which ones do you dislike. Another idea is to type something like “great website design” into Google and see what the search turns up. Remember that a law firm’s website will look different to a plumber’s – but if you are a plumber you want your site to stand out from the crowd.
Anyone who knows anything about about building a successful website will tell you that content is the key. Every page on your site needs to talk directly to your target audience and potential clients.
Understanding your market is the only way to be successful here – so get acquainted with your target audience is and know what it is you want to tell them. Information must be appropriate and follow through with a meaningful call to action.
Remember to include a contact form and your relevant contact details, like phone number, address and opening hours.
It is very important your pages and content are organised in a structured manner. Navigation through your site must be intuitive and easy for your visitors.
Similar to your website’s design, remember that the structure will differ depending on the type of business that you run and that to make sure your website is successful your content should be structured with this in mind.
HTML (& XHTML) is the coding language that allows your website to be seen on the internet and as such needs to be well written and accessible. It must be readable by different web browsers (Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc) and different versions of these browsers.
Not everyone who visits your site has the latest software or the latest plug-ins. Other considerations are slow internet connections, people with disabilities and corporate users who have their internet access limited at work. Knowing your target audience and their browsing habits and capabilities will help you here.
Use a service like The W3C Validation Service, which validates multiple versions of XHTML and HTML to ensure your website has been coded correctly and will be accessible across multiple platforms.
Search Engine Optimisation is not difficult, it just takes experience and planning. The basics of SEO include regular updated content, search engine friendly URLs, descriptive page titles, the use of heading tags, relevant metadata, valid code, careful directory submission and being linked to by external sites. If your website has all this going for it then you are off to a good start to having website success!
Many people choose cheap hosting options as a way of saving money and while there are some good inexpensive options out there remember to do your research first.
Questions to ask are:
For more information about planning, designing and building a successful website contact us today.