Often we have people come to us and say “I want a website.” To this we respond, “Great. You’ve walked in the right door. How do you like your coffee?” However, after we’ve shook hands and talked about the miserable weather, there’s an inevitable set of questions we have to ask:
– “What do you want your website to do?”
– “How do you want it to look?”
– Or as we’re putting it today… “Have you got your digital ducks in a row?”
It is at this point we are commonly approached with a vacant stare or a response along the lines of “I just want a website with a better vibe.”
Now don’t get us wrong. We’re more than happy to take the reigns, tell you all the things we think you need, and fill you in on what will be beneficial to your online presence. We’re actually pretty good at it. But if you want to be 100% sure you will end up with something that fits your needs, your goals and your aesthetic desires – it’s important to get your digital ducks in a row. This way, you can ensure and they’re integrated to the website scope and design processes.
What are these digital ducks we speak of? Keep reading.
DUCK ONE: ESTABLISHING THE POINT
What is the point of a website for your business? It’s a question we ask a lot and possibly the most crucial duck you want to get in line. Naturally, it is also the question that is most struggled with.
So to make it a bit easier for you, we’ve thought up a remedy.
Start by asking yourself what you do. Are you a butcher selling meat? Are you an art gallery with new openings every week? Are you a charity taking donations? Now ask if what you do, is what you want your website to do as well. Do you want your website to sell meat? To promote upcoming exhibitions? Or raise awareness and take donations? 9/10 times – by answering these questions, you will find the point of your website. And while we can do it for you, no one quite knows what you do, like you do.
You might have more than one point to your website, which is great. Just make sure you get all those points down on paper, which makes for a nice segue into the next duck…
DUCK TWO: GETTING THE GOAL INTO A SENTENCE
Once you’ve worked out the point of your website try to get the goal into a sentence. This will give you (as well as your fellow web designer) a clear vision of what you want to get from the website.
Again we have a bit of a formula for you.
– Start with ‘I want a website with/which’
– Add the point you established
– Tack on any other benefits you are after.
Let’s return to the butcher, the art gallery and the charity for some examples.
The butcher could be after: A website with an integrated online order system, which effectively showcases the product, allows for convenience of purchase, and helps the butcher easily keep track of orders at their end.
In the case of an art gallery they may want: A website which presents information on upcoming exhibitions in an aesthetically pleasing and intuitive manner, and attracts email subscriptions to assist the building of a community within the art gallery’s network.
Finally, the charity organisation could be looking for: A website that provides information on the cause in an evocative way, with strong calls to action, making the donation process an inspiring one which is intuitive and easy to follow.
DUCK THREE: APPEARANCES, APPEARANCES
This one goes out to all the nitpickers. How you want to look is the cornerstone of the web design process. In fact, it’s probably the one thing above all you want a web designer to get right.
Coming with a clear idea of how you want to look in the online space is a great way to help us nail it the first time. To get this duck in order ask the following questions:
– Do I want the appearance of my online presence to match how I look offline?
– Are there any dominant brand themes I want to carry through?
– What is the personality of my brand– is it professional, fun, modern?
– How do my customers expect me to look?
The way your website appears aesthetically goes far beyond typefaces. It’s an extension of your branded presence. To go back to the “I want a website with a better vibe” response – it pays to think about what that vibe means to your brand. That way, we can articulate it the best way possible via great design. And remember, if at any point during this duck lining stage you find yourself thinking about rebranding (it happens) – Publica does that too – from logos to business cards to thinking up a new name.
DUCK FOUR: WHO’S GONNA KEEP AN EYE ON THINGS?
For Publica at least, web design isn’t just about making a website and sending it off into the wild. We like to see what we produce work – and the websites that work, have people running them. Yip, that’s right folks, a website doesn’t run itself – especially an e-commerce one. Before you head down the online road, make sure there is someone who can keep an eye on what’s going on – even if it’s just from a progress perspective. If you’re tight on resources to monitor this, talk to us about our digital strategy team who can keep you on track with your online goals. After all, you want to make sure your website is doing what you wanted it to.
DUCK 5: GETTING PEOPLE THERE
Have you ever heard the saying, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” The last thing you want when you’ve put your time and money into building a website is to find it’s a tree falling with no spectators. On the converse, you want it to be booming and producing results.
The butcher wants to be selling steaks, the art gallery wants eyeballs on paintings and the charity wants to gain awareness and funds. To achieve any of these things, a website must be findable, talked about, or better yet – both.
You might not be thinking about this in the early stages of your web development journey. However, it is worth thinking about before you go live. Treat your website as part of your overarching communications strategy and think about how it fits into your marketing goals.
If you want to get ranked on Google or develop a digital marketing strategy make sure you ask us about our search engine optimization and digital marketing packages.
DUCK 6: THE OLD BUDGET
Now we don’t want to rain on your parade but we have to be upfront. If you want to build a website, you do have to think about the B-Word. Big websites require bigger budgets, so it’s always good to have a limit in mind for your web designer and developer to work with. That way we can give you the best bang for your buck.
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