website blog_August5Looking at putting a website together or maybe giving your old one an overhaul? Here are some things to consider BEFORE talking to a designer.

What is your budget? This will affect the kind of site you can have, who will manage it, and what bells and whistles it will have too. You can set up your own website via Go Daddy, get BlueHost for your hosting needs, and set up your own WordPress Site, but for a really professional look, you’ll want to hire a professional designer or company.

Will you need a shopping cart? Will your customers need to ‘buy’ products or services directly from your site? If so you might need One Shopping Cart or Infusion  Soft for instance to process payments, take orders and more!

Opt-ins. How many and what kind of opt-ins will you want on your site. Do you want viewers to sign up for an e-zine, download reports or e-books, offer complimentary calls or services? There are a lot of options, but you’ll want to map them out and think about them beforehand.

Style/Theme Think about the color scheme and style that you’ll want. Does your branding require a specific color or style? It’s a good idea to check out many sites online and bookmark the one’s you like or even do not like and write down what elements you want. It’s best for your designer to have a clear direction.

Bells/Whistles Do you want special contact forms, pop-ups, videos, sliders that go across the screen to bring attention to a specific offer, slideshows, gallery of rotating pictures? There are many cool features out there. Take into consideration, though, that the more bells and whistles the more costly it may be.

Blogs: It’s advisable to have blogs on your site so that you always have fresh new content, and provide value. WordPress have a very user-friendly platform for adding new blogs & scheduling and linking them. It can even sync to Hootsuite, so that you can pre-schedule them from there. If you aren’t sure about blogs, read my Top Reasons to Add Blogs to your Marketing Strategy.

Content Think about the content that you want on your site, what’s important, what ‘readers’ will WANT to see, graphics, etc. Start to think about how that will be organized and how many ‘pages’ you’ll need. Will you need drop down menus if you have a lot of pages, for instance? It’s best to map this out before speaking with a designer so they have a clear direction and site-map to work from.

SEO: You will always need an SEO Package, so that your website, pages and blogs are optimized for search engines –to make your content and site more ‘findable’. Think of keywords that are important in your industry, or content and ensure when you put your website together, this doesn’t get overlooked.

Management: Ask yourself if you need someone to do all any updates, and changes to the site AFTER the site is done, or can you do the updates yourself. This will affect whether you have a WordPress site for instance, where you can login and change your content yourself, or a fully customized site with a webmaster managing the site for you.

These are only a few things to consider when re-doing or creating a website. It’s a longer process than a lot of people realize. When in doubt talk to a professional web designer to ensure you are fully informed before diving in.