Steps to Take Before Ordering a Website

There’s a point when your company needs a website and the way you approach this project defines the outcome. There are certain things you do and certain things you need to know before you even start talking to website design companies. Here’s a short list of the steps to take in order to get great websites:

1. Research. What are your keywords? What do your customers look for? Google AdWords has a great tool to research keywords – enter one keyword and it suggests related keywords with an additional search info. Use this tool to create an extensive list of the most popular searches in your field.

2. Spy. Now that you have your keywords – it’s time to take care of competition. Google these keywords to find out who your main competitors are. What do their websites offer? Identify the leaders in your niche and use Quantcast.com to find out who’s going to make the majority of your visitors.

3. Budget. Building a website doesn’t end at launch. If you’re passionate about it – it doesn’t end at all. But even if you’re not – the basic promotion is a must. Budget for SEO, SMO, AdWords or any other pay-per-click program in advance. Use Spyfu.com to determine the approximate advertising budgets of your competitors.

TIP: Though you can delegate SEO and SMO to professionals, it’s strongly recommended that you get involved in pay-per-click programs yourself. You know your brand, you know your customers and what they want – you are the one who can grab their attention.

4. Write. Write ALL copy BEFORE ordering a website. Great website designs use actual texts during development process to ensure the best user experience. Remember to include as much of your keywords into the texts as you can – it’s good for SEO.

5. Formalize. Now that you have all that information – it’s time to create a technical description. Start with tasks and desired outcomes. Know what the “success” of the project is – it must be quantifiable. You can use something as simple as “an average of 1000 visitors a day” or something more advanced like “increase the sales of the product by 15% in UK”. Write it all down. Avoid words like “beautiful”, “good”, “a lot” or anything that’s not specific when describing a task. You don’t need to be technical, but you need to be precise. Include your keywords, information about competitors and all the graphical and textual information you’ve prepared. Make sure you describe your plans for the future of site and promotions you had in mind.

Once this is done – you have a technical description you can use to communicate with a website development company. You wrote it, you understand it and it suits your needs fully.

Andrew Zolot

Project manager for the website design company Dzin Group.

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