Website development holds the key to the digital presence of a business. People ( Celebrities, professors, and artists) have started getting websites to showcase themselves. And still, many ponder over whether they should have a digital presence or not. One of the reasons people hold back is that they are doing good offline and see no reason. This part is called as complacency. Just because you are doing well now does not mean the same thing will continue in future.
By going digital you are preparing yourself for an unforeseen threat that might strike you one day.
Do I need a website?
I met a senior retired individual who had been selling dry roasted fruits for last 03 years happily and did not really wish to go online. After hearing all the reasoning and logic behind his complacency, I asked if he had bought the domain of the name and he replied in negative. I then presented a hypothetical situation in which his business was doing well and I was the owner of the domain. With the offline brand value he had created, it will take me hardly 5 days to copy his idea online. I can then capitalize on his work and start delivering the same products online. Going as far as setting up my distribution channel wherever I felt like, all because he had not bought a domain. Even if he bought the domain but does not build an online presence, how easily I could copy his concepts and go online. I could then go offline to online in some time. Understanding the potential risk he made the right decision of buying the domain before the meeting ended and went to order a website for him.
That is how much digital presence is inevitable. Your digital presence has to be there or you are giving a chance for competition to sell online. No matter how much you do, you won’t be able to stop the person from selling online because he is omnipresent.
If there is still any doubt in your mind whether you need a website or not, think again before you proceed.
I don’t understand coding?
Let’s look at a few points one should consider before proceeding with website development and knowledge you should have to get it done:
UI/ UX design
Basically how your website will look.
So, you explain your concept to a UI designer and he comes up with a rough sketch of what the website will look like. Make sure you do some research before dwelling into it. The sketch is called as a wire-frame and can be drawn using a software or even on paper. It is the exploration of how the website will look and its structure.
Once the wire-frame is finalized, the UI (User Interface) designer will include colors, fonts to be used and their respective placements. It also covers branding concepts like logo designs for which the charge is separate.
You might also choose to go with some easy templates like bootstrap, materialize etc for easy going. It is a good practice to ask the developer what framework he would be using for the work and then studying about the framework and its alternatives on the net.
If you like a particular way the icons move when you move the cursor over or when you click it, share the reference with your developer and ask him to code one for you. It’s an easy work for an average developer and should not charge extra.
This comes mostly when your website might be an e-commerce or you ask for a detailed back-end enabling you to change components of the website at your own convenience.
If your transactions are not through a website and you do not want to change things on a website on a daily basis, this feature might not be required at all. If you do need such a back-end, make sure you test them on as many users as you can get your hands on before calling the work over.
Visit any public place and see the people playing around with mobile and you will know how important mobile responsiveness is.
Ask your developer to make the website friendly to all the device sizes available in the market. Ideally, your developer should provide the websites as mobile-friendly without even asking.
YoCreativ makes sure that the website is always mobile friendly before we hand it over to clients whether they ask for or not.
Every website requires maintenance on regular basis. Sometimes you may want to change the slider images, content, add or remove some feature or change the overall feel of it. Changes like these come in maintenance contract, signed for a year. Make sure you get a responsive guy for maintenance and generally the developer himself may quote you for maintenance.
Keep some room to include a couple of pages here and there and not simply changing text.
This will be the URL of your website and if possible should depict your business nature. Do not rely on anyway to buy the domain and instead, create an account on any domain provider and buy it yourself. It is very simple and easy to do.
Consider this as paperwork for a property and you do not want your property in someone else’s name.
This is where the codes of your website are kept for viewing on the internet. Start with a low budget server plan for 3-6 months as you start marketing. Once you start getting a lot of traffic which takes some time and a lot of hard work, upgrade the plan.
Changing the server on a regular basis is not a good idea. You should stick to one server and should your requirements change with time, upgrade the plan instead of choosing another service provider. Every time you change the server, SEO rankings takes a dip and recovering back takes time.
Generally, website developers provide a server at reasonable costs and as you the website is being built by them you feel safe and convenient to take the service. In my opinion, find a well-branded company, create your account there, purchase a hosting, transfer your website and keep reading my blog for further ideas.
Don’t get in the influence of these hosting re-sellers as later on you will be transferring them to a branded server and feel sorry for the loss of time.
Once the website is finalized and you are happy with it, ask the website developer to share the codes compressed form on mail. Always keep the codes separately with you for some mishap on the server. Treat this as a back up where you go back to when everything goes wrong. High chances are you might never need it but it is just a mail from the developer.
Getting the website built is the easy part of the cycle; it is the second part which is toughest, promotions. You can refer to my previous articles on an understanding of each component of digital marketing and here I will touch the broad guidelines for your website to get a high ranking.
Make sure your website clearly shows your nature of a business, USP and your selling points. If you are not comfortable in writing, then get a good content writer and ask them to write with SEO perspective.
The website content should be humorous, informative and 100% original. There should be some call to action tabs where you want the readers to do some activity. Images used on the website should not be copyrighted and be allowed for reuse. Check the below snapshot to get reusable images from Google.
You should change the website content every quarter if possible as search engines and users prefer fresher content. You need to look at who will be doing these changes and make a time schedule if possible.
Your social media accounts should be connected to the website. There are many interesting widgets available online and explore them to your heart. These widgets take some bandwidth while uploading and you might want to go use a static icon instead.
Website developers love choosing font-awesome icons among many such platforms to get free icon designs. I like to choose https://www.flaticon.com/ where you get really cool designs for free. You also get the icons in different file types and sizes.
A blog helps in search engine optimization as you add regular blogs for your readers. Get a nice looking blog post with a detailed backend in it. Write regular posts to make the most of it.
This can be a bit tricky for a novice and I’ll cover in detail in some other article. To summarize, ask your developer to check what on-page SEO work your competitor has done and ask them to copy it, make some changes and customize it for you, and use it. If you know how to get on page SEO did it gives an edge.
YoCreativ provides this as a complimentary service for its clients and advises them should they chose to do it themselves.
Simply, ask your developer to put the Google analytic code in the website and check the same by either going through the source code or even checking your Google analytics report. This is required to know about traffic your website is generating and steps to improve it.
This much should set your business for the digital world and you are ready to push yourself ahead of the competition to ensure high ranking on search engine.
Now let us look at few components that make a website look interesting and add to its beauty:
This is my favorite piece in the whole website and refers to the sliding images we see just before the navigation bar. It gives an opportunity to show a lot in a limited space. You can build graphics for various products or service or even a new and different message on each slide.
You can even display your products in the carousel. For example in a “New launch Segment” where all the products get shown briefly in a slider.
A carousel gives a dynamic look to your website and collates your different messages together.
When you move the cursor to some tabs, it changes the color of the background and the text too. If you have some of it in your imagination, make sure it’s there in UI design and the developer codes it.
This is a great way to connect with your customers while they are on the website but make sure you have someone at the back-end to monitor the chats and respond. If not, be prepared for an unhappy user experience.
Make a good judgment call before proceeding ahead with this and if by any chance you are short of resources, my personal advice would be to drop it. If you do not have to worry about resources, definitely go ahead.
A lot of chatbots are available in the market but only a few of them provide services for free. In return for these free services, they ask for co-branding and it’s your decision.
People can fill forms looking for specific information or communication and can also be a nice way to generate lead. Make sure your form not only looks good but also works well. The details in the form get dropped in your mail and that the user gets a thank you note online.
Once you get a form filled, try to respond on it ASAP.
Footer gives the real kick to a website with all the necessary links and information like contact us, social media icons, forms provided easily. In fact, all your links can be summarily placed here for easy reference.
Newsletter Sign up
This is the best way to let your user base sign up for the newsletter while you contact them on a regular basis with blogs, reviews, product launches and stuff that you are into.
Every point in the article can be covered in details and only salient points have been covered keeping a novice in mind assuming he does not know a lot about the digital world. I’ll be covering each point more in detail in my future blogs.
Feel free to share, comment and definitely follow the advice.