Thought I’d share with you an article I wrote on behalf of Modemedia for the Western Sydney Business Access magazine –

Hardly a day goes by without a business contacting us to have a new website created or an existing one upgraded. However, very few of these businesses know why they need a website or what it should be doing for them.

There is a “If you build it they will come” mentality. Businesses seem to believe that all you have to do is create a site and customers will come running through the door. This is incredibly naive. Not only because an effective branding and marketing campaign is multi-layered and your website is just one part of the overall strategy, but also because a site needs to be promoted in order for consumers to know it exists and it needs to be constructed properly.

I could add another point to this and that is the fact that technology keeps changing. Take, for example, the fact that with responsive web technology you can now have a website which automatically resizes itself and adjusts the navigation bar and menus to suit tablets and Smartphones.

We don’t start work on a new site until we’ve conducted a thorough examination. I’m going to share with you the types of questions we ask our clients. We begin by asking what are the purpose and objectives of the site. Is it there to explain products or services? Should it generate online sales? Is it there to improve customer service, giving them a chance to provide feedback? Or is it simply contributing to building your image?

What types of products or services do you provide? This has a big effect on the type of website and its look and feel. If your product is visually stimulating such as a sports car, designer clothing or shoes, a prestige home or a Pacific cruise then we will create a site with highly emotive images. If you intend to sell from your site then it has to be easy to understand and to navigate. The least number of clicks and re-directing from one page to another the better.

Who is your intended target market? Are they “web savvy”. How much information do they expect to find? The language of the website needs to suit its audience. Is it formal, conversational, youth-oriented, and so on?

Who are your competitors? We want to know how they present themselves to the market place and what their messages are.

Have you noticed that a lot of websites look similar. The reason is that they are based on basic open source templates. The problem here is that your site ends up looking like everyone else’s. A website is no different to a display ad. It has to be dynamic and visually powerful to attract people. When someone lands on your home page you only have seconds to convince them to stay. An unimaginative layout is not appealing. This is why at Modemedia we customise every site. We create the templates, we construct the architecture as .html or with a content management system (CMS), and we develop the shopping cart e-commerce platform and interface.

A highly stylised customised site is vital if you need it to build the profile of your company. A contemporary corporate site with professional produced images will contribute very effectively to developing the right perceptions about you in the market place. It’s definitely worth the added investment because you end up with a website that is unique and enticing to viewers.

On the subject of .html versus CMS, ask yourself how often your site needs to be updated. If you need to add fresh content and have the capability to do this yourself we suggest a CMS type site. A regularly updated – by that I mean weekly – site will rank better with Google than a static one.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before we start the design process…and we haven’t even covered search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising. These are two methods we use with great success to quickly elevate our clients’ websites to prominent positions on Google. If you would like an independent review of your site contact me today.