The following are a few questions that will help ensure that your web site project will be a success:
This fundamental question is often overlooked. Are you selling a product, introducing a service, offering support to current clients or reaching out to a new market? Maybe you are establishing credibility for a new business, or upgrading your corporate identity. Most often, there will be several goals. If these goals are defined from the beginning, all the work that follows can be focused on meeting them. If you need help in defining the goals for your site, be sure to tell your web designer. Part of his job is to help you see opportunities and possibilities, not just execute your requests.
As with goals, there may be more than one audience. If there are multiple groups you are targeting, should one group get more attention than the other? What types of people make up each audience in terms of age, gender, income, job title, etc.? Are they very tech savvy, not at all, or somewhere in between?
If so, are there things about it that you like? What do you dislike about it? Sometimes a current siteís shortcomings can point the way for the new site. And if certain things are already working well, itís important to not to lose them in the upgrade.
Do you have access to an electronic version of your logo? Does your company have a style guide that defines rules for logo usage, typefaces and colors? Is your web site content already written? Do you have someone on staff that will be writing it? Do you have printed material that might be leveraged for content? How about photography or even video? Lack of content is a frequent cause for holding up an otherwise finished web site.
Take a look at lots of web sites, both in your industry and not. When you see something you like or dislike, try to pin down exactly what you are responding to. Do you like/dislike the color scheme, the overall "feel," some piece of functionality, the way photography is used, etc.
Will you or someone on staff frequently need to be able to update content? If so, you may want a content management system as part of your site. However, if you donít really need it, thereís no point taking on the cost and design limitations associated with such a feature.
A domain name is the address that someone types in to get to your web site. Youíll need to purchase this name and a place for your web site files to live (hosting). Ask your web designer if you need help getting these things set up.
There are people and companies out there building web sites with prices from $100 on into the millions for large enterprise projects. Itís important to find a designer that can give you a good value for the money. Be wary of people that promise the world for next to nothing. If the scope of what you want is beyond your budget, talk to your web designer- he may be able to build a solid foundation that includes your core requirements, with the option of adding features later.
Often, people need for a site to be built and go live by a hard deadline driven by a tradeshow, product launch, grant proposal, etc. Be sure to discuss any deadlines with your web designer as soon as possible so he can advise you on what is possible within the timeframe. He will want to make sure your site is finished AND correct by the appointed date.
There are many of ways to drive traffic to your site, but they all require some deliberate effort. Be sure to talk to your web designer about the most appropriate ways to help your audience find your new site.