1. Determine why you need a site
If you know why you are creating a site, consider that you have passed half the way to the successful launch of the resource. See for yourself: understanding the purpose of the site’s existence allows the customer and developer to step by step implement their plans. On the other hand, if you order a site, because it’s accepted, then you risk falling into the trap of “maybe, let’s”. There she is:
– And let’s screw the forum.
– Or maybe in the menu, swap the links “About the company” and “Our products”?
“But what if you play with flowers here and add monograms and ruffles in the basement?”
– Everything is wonderful, thank you very much, but something else is missing, something is wrong.
Of course, you have every right to not worry about the mental health of developers. In the end, they have such a job. But a misunderstanding of the purpose of creating the site and the impasse “maybe, let’s” that follows is too expensive for you. Firstly, you are wasting your time. Secondly, you throw money away. The monograms, the forum and the reordering of links in the menu are unlikely to affect the effectiveness of the resource. Yes there, you simply do not need them.
How to determine why you need a website? Engage in goal setting. Define and write down on paper what goal you want to achieve with the resource. Also fix the tasks that need to be solved to achieve the goal. By the way, you’re in luck. If you order a business website, the goal is ready. It sounds like this: make more money. Well, you can comb it to your taste, make it measurable, specific and specific to your business. The essence will remain unchanged: any enterprise or individual entrepreneur creates a website in order to earn more. And then you have to work hard. You should write down tasks that will help you make more money using the site. To formulate them correctly, answer the question “what needs to be done to increase profits thanks to the site?”
Your future resource can solve the following tasks that contribute to profit growth:
- Attract new customers.
- Provide the ability to sell the product online.
- Increase marketing effectiveness. This task can be divided into many subtasks, for example, such:
- Expand the sales funnel.
- Form a loyal audience.
- Reduce the cost of customer acquisition and increase LTV.
- Overcome advertising deafness through content marketing.
- Reduce offline marketing and advertising costs.
- Provide potential and existing customers access to reliable information.
- Overcome geographical restrictions.
- Show product face. We are talking about photos and descriptions of products, portfolios, a list of customers and completed projects, etc.
- Provide social evidence to the audience.
- Improve customer service.
- Meet the specific needs of the audience. It’s about internet services.
The list goes on. But the essence is already clear: you need to fix the tasks that your site will solve. Practice with any live example.
2. Determine the required site functionality
This is a very simple step. Take a piece of paper with written tasks for creating a resource. Take the red pen and formulate questions from the tasks. You will get these questions:
- What is needed to inform the audience using the site?
- What features are needed to attract new customers?
- What should a site be “able to” to improve the quality of user service?
First time answer the questions yourself. Later you will return to them with the manager or developers of the agency. Answer in detail and in writing.
For example, write down the functions needed to inform customers:
- The site should display static pages: “About the company”, “List of products”, “Contacts, working hours, delivery and payment conditions”, etc.
- The site should have a blog or a “Useful Publications” section.
- Somewhere on the side, messages from the “Twitter” of the main specialist should be displayed. He will promptly inform about changes in the work schedule, the receipt of new goods, promotions.
- In the basement, the working conditions must be published.
Somewhere in a prominent place you need to hang licenses, certificates, prizes, a list of customers and links to social profiles.
3. Determine how the site should look.
This is one of the most difficult steps. Cause? Everyone has their own idea of an ideal, good, bad and sloppy design. If you like the resource, this does not guarantee that your customers will like it. This statement also works in the opposite direction. However, you are creating a site for the public, not for yourself, so put its interests in the first place.
To coordinate with the developers the appearance of the site, you need to solve two problems. First, determine the appropriate site layout. Secondly, fill it with the necessary visual components.
How to choose a site layout? You will choose the layout with the developers of the site.
Before communicating with them, remember a few points:
- For different pages of the site you can use different templates. For example, the main page, the publication page, and the advertising landing page can be organized in different ways.
- The markup should correspond to the theme of the site and the tasks that the page solves. For example, it is probably better to use different templates for the content project and the photographer’s portfolio.
- The structure of the pages affects the perception of content. Choose a layout that helps your audience draw attention to the most important information.
- During the first meeting with the manager or when filling out the brief, you will be asked to select one of the typical page structures, for example, such: marking in the form of the letter “g”. Pages with this template correspond to the perception of content. Getting on them, the user scans the content from left to right and from top to bottom. Thanks to this, he draws attention to the information in the header and left column, and after that starts reading the main content block.
This structure is suitable for corporate sites, content projects, services, for which it is important to provide the user with the ability to navigate and quickly search for the necessary data, as well as to inform users.
After you agree on a modular structure, you will have to answer another question. Choose the layout type: static, rubber or adaptive. Static layout assumes that page element sizes remain the same for all screen sizes and browsers. The developers call this solution the simplest and most stable. The main disadvantage of a static layout is manifested when a user opens your site using a gadget with a small screen. If you dwell on this option, be prepared to invest in the development of a mobile version of the site. On pages with a rubber layout, the blocks are stretched in width. This makes it possible to conveniently view the site on screens of different sizes. Responsive design is an advanced version of the rubber layout. For adaptive pages, modular blocks change size depending on the resolution of the user’s screen, and the location and content of the modules also change. For example, on a desktop screen, a website with adaptive layout can be displayed in three columns, and on a smartphone screen in one.
Which option to choose? Stop on adaptive layout. Thanks to her, your site will be equally convenient for gadget owners with any screen resolution.
4. Select CMS
At this point you will have to solve two problems. First, determine whether you will use CMS or order a website in HTML. Secondly, if you decide to make a site with an “engine”, determine which particular content management system is better to use in your case.
What to choose: website on CMS or HTML?
According to Web Technology Surveys, 41.9% of all sites work on CMS, and 58.1% do not use the “engine”. Which of the two groups to choose?
HTML sites give you the following benefits:
- The practical absence of restrictions in the choice of structure, design and functionality;
- Low resource requirements. HTML sites load quickly and work stably at peak traffic;
- No need to pay for the “engine”;
- The lack of binding to the CMS gives developers the opportunity to implement any customer ideas.
However, the main drawback of HTML resources can cross out all the benefits. If you build houses well or cook steaks, but don’t understand anything in web programming, you won’t be able to publish content yourself. You will have to hire a specialist or pay developers to support the resource.
Sites with a content management system (CMS) provide the following benefits:
- The ability to independently add and edit content. This does not require knowledge in the field of web programming.
- Independent change of architecture, functionality and technical characteristics of the site. Of course, you will spend time studying the admin panel of the engine. But you can edit the menu, set up backups, manage caching without changing the code.
- The ability to solve specific tasks using template tools: modules, plugins, widgets. For example, you can add a plugin for semantic page layout to a site running WordPress CMS in a few clicks. You cannot mark up pages on HTML without special knowledge.
- Ability to use template design. For example, you can easily find paid WordPress themes that look better than many custom designed options.
Choose a site on HTML in two cases: if you need a long-dying business card site from one static page or if you are ready to pay developers and a regular programmer to pay for the support of the resource. Use CMS if you want to be able to publish content yourself.
5. Agree on the additional characteristics that the site must meet.
In short, your site should meet the needs of the audience and the technical requirements of search engines. In most cases, this is one and the same. The following is a basic list of features and features that you should agree with the developers:
- Correct display in popular browsers.
- Adaptation to viewing from mobile devices. A guide to creating mobile-friendly resources will help you.
- Correctly configured site map and robots.txt file. Some “engines”, for example, Joomla! And WordPress, allow you to create and maintain a sitemap using extensions. Read about setting up a robots.txt file.
- Acceptable site loading speed.
- Human-friendly URLs. Depending on the CMS, this problem can be solved with the help of extensions or the correct setting of the “engine”.
- Lack of duplicate pages. Ask developers to ensure canonicalization of URLs, and to close tags, categories, and archives from indexing pages.
- The ability to optimize the meta data of the page.
- The ability to embed codes of third-party services, for example, analytics services.
- Code validity. Check here.
- Ability to optimize graphic content: resize photos, add title, caption and alt attribute.
- Availability of user-friendly functions: comments, social buttons, rating system, search forms and feedback, clear navigation.
- If you work in the international market, you will need a multilingual site.
- Resource security: protection against unauthorized access, creating backup copies, blocking spam comments.
- The ability to use micro-markup without knowledge of web programming.
Discuss with the developer what other characteristics the resource should match.
“Beating” the above, start with a brainstorming session: clearly define what tasks you will solve using the web resource. This will help you describe the necessary functionality. Then everything will go like clockwork: you will describe the design that is ideal from your point of view, choose CMS, determine the necessary technical characteristics. After that, you will understand whether it is worth creating a resource yourself or is it better to turn to professionals. Only a little remains: to decide who will promote the site and how much money will be needed to implement the project. If you work with a studio, they will tell you the price after discussing the idea.