Friday, September 17, 2010

Ten things you should do to build an effective website. Fast.

Recently we got an email from a very concerned client. Seems like he signed off on a website project 2 years ago and has yet to see it completed. “Unacceptable” we said.

Why in the world would it take 2 years to create a simple website you may ask. Well, unfortunately blaming the designer was not an option. Seems like the client had 4 decision makers and for some reason, every file we sent took a month to get feedback on. Plus, they were VERY slow in providing us basic content and guidance.

So, I thought it would be wise to put together a punch list for anyone who may be looking to create (or recreate) a website.

Ten things you should do to build an effective website. Fast.

  1. Look at your competition. Your site should look better, work smarter and be easier to find then your competitions.
  2. Make a list of possible domain names. (If you don’t have one already). The name should be as short as possible. Easy to remember. Easy to spell. If you have a domain name already that does not fit the above criteria, purchase a new one.
  3. Purchase a hosting account from the same place as your domain name was purchased
  4. Make a list of "pages" that will appear on your navigation bar (Home, About Us, Services, Testimonials, Contact us).
  5. Jot down a few bullet points of text that would appear on each page. There should be some copy on each page. Not only for search engines, but your clients as well. Nothing is worse than going to a website and seeing “this page is under construction”.
  6. Make a list of key words that you would expect someone to search to be able to find your site.
  7. Once you have a few bullet points listed and a list of keywords for each page, you or a copyrighter can expand them into paragraphs of text.
  8. The Home page must contain some pertinent text including key words (not just images, and definitely NOT all in Flash). The home page is critical for Google and other search engines to find you.
  9. If you have pictures you would like to use on the site, collect them together so that you can hand them over to the website designer. Pictures are important to create an aesthetically pleasing site. Whether you are a Financial Consultant or a graphic designer. Use images that convey your overall message. If you don't have pictures, fear not. Your design team will come up with some really cool ones.
  10. Collect all these pieces and walk, no run, to your web designer.

When you sign off on a web design project contract and you provide the design firm all of the above, they can hit the ground running. Instead of 2 years, we should really get it up and running in 2 weeks!

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