Deciding to launch a website, or to redesign your existing one, can be a big step, especially if you have to start from the ground up. While costs vary, you have to budget a few thousand dollars for a good Seattle web developer, so it’s important that you know what you want, and how to get there. Working with your designer, ensuring that they know what they are doing, and ensuring that they know what you want are all crucial elements of getting a site you will love. The following 7 steps will help you with getting there.
1. Discovery, Research, and Strategy
The first step of building any website is planning and research. One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is putting building their website quickly ahead of any sort of brand research or targeting. Unfortunately, this is very much the wrong way to go. Take the time to do brand analysis, market targeting, and strategy based on that analysis, or choose a web developer who will do it for you. Communication strategy, primary audiences, and perception goals can all drastically change how your website should look.
2. Solid Architecture
You might not know what site architecture is, and that’s okay, your Seattle web designer will. What you need is to plan in solid site architecture, including backend, and great copywriting. This means search optimized, clear calls to action, and enough user oriented design that readers are guided clearly down the page to wherever you want them to go.
Your actual web design is incredibly important because it affects your brand image and perception. A busy, flashy website might seem tempting, but studies show that simplicity and clean website design is much more effective. You’ll also have to consider your target audience in the design. For example, if you sell hearing aids or glasses, you’ll want large, clear text that’s easy to read for those with sight problems. The size and number of images, site design, menus, colors, and impression are also important. Generally, if you can go on the page and not find what you’re looking for in three seconds, it’s probably too busy.
Whether you’re going with an existing content management system or want a custom one, you need great web development. Your development team should be able to build an interface that allows you to achieve anything you want (such as flash, interactive menus, etc.), but also that resizes based on phones and browsers, displays properly on different browsers, and allows you full functionality.
5. Stage 2 of Development and Design
You’re probably going to want a few adjustments to the initial design and development, so that should be considered as part of the process. Make sure you plan in going over the website and making changes, but make sure that you outline what you want, and why you want it as clearly as possible, so that your developer knows what to do.
Your website launch is important, and if you plan it correctly, you should already have a fair amount of hype for your site before it goes live. Some Seattle web developers will help you with marketing your site before it goes live, but make sure that you’ve budgeted for the extra cost if so.
If you want updates, new features, new designs, or just to ensure continued functionality, you will need the occasional update. While you don’t have to keep your web developer on the payroll, you should ensure that they’re willing to do updates from time to time, or even schedule regular maintenance to ensure that everything is going as it should be.
Hiring a Seattle web developer is a big step, but you do want to make sure that they offer help through every step, including planning, brand analysis, strategy, and maintenance after launch.