Congratulations! We’re going to assume that you’re reading this because you’re ready to take the leap to build a new website for your business.
Whether you’re looking to sell your products, promote your brand or take bookings, every website project at Systemato starts with ticking off boxes on our web prep checklist.
We pride ourselves on delivering first-class websites, quickly and painlessly. But we can’t do this without the cooperation of our clients.
We understand that you’re too busy running your business to be thinking about what should and what shouldn’t be going on your site.
So, for us part of delivering a streamlined service means asking the client for what we need, at the start. That way you can carry on with your work, and us with ours.
Here’s a full, exhaustive, comprehensive list of all the things you need to think about before embarking on a new website project.
Your website should be one of the most important marketing tools of your business – but it can only do that if you understand what your user is looking to gain from it.
- What exactly is this website for?
- Who will it serve?
- What are its functions?
Big questions that require clear answers.
It’s pointless to spend time and money developing a website that isn’t clear on its purpose – it will be fuzzy and fail to deliver clearly, because it wasn’t built with a clearly stated goal.
Think of almost all the Government of Malta websites, and you’ll understand exactly what I mean – fuzzy, unclear, essentially unusable. Why?
They are designed and developed by people who do not know the first thing about the intended users of the website, at the behest of political masters seeking political mileage who are unschooled in the creation of properly thought out digital products (or indeed, properly thought out anything).
We have become more conditioned to a world which interacts and responds instantaneously, the quicker, the better.
Don’t be like them.
Start by clearly mapping out the purpose of your website; for example, ‘my website will be a reliable source of information and products relating to vegan cooking, and will therefore also accept orders and payments’.
That’s a much clearer mission statement than most projects ever get, but I can tell you that it helps us immensely to know what you’re setting out to achieve.
Logo and Branding
Yes, obviously you need a logo and some form of branding, even if it’s just ‘these are our colours’ and ‘this is the font we use’.
Without that, exactly what visual style and colours should this website you want to build actually have? And without a logo, what would we put in the top left corner?
No, you don’t need to know precisely what pages are going to be needed on this site, but it helps to have an idea.
It is much easier to supply a quote and understand a project when we are told from the get go that a Homepage, About page, Product page, Category page, Contact Us, and online shopping functionality are required, than a project that starts as a simple, single page website, and balloons into an Amazon clone within a couple of weeks.
Of course, we can and do help here – come to us with your idea and what the website needs to achieve, and we will work with you to build a properly laid out structure for your website, based on logic and informed by our long years of working in this industry, and expertise in User Experience.
It should come as no surprise that whether your site has 5, 50, or 500 pages, someone needs to write their content.
You need to think about this required content writing; either you’re going to make time and write it yourself, or get it done internally – or you’ll need to pay someone to do it.
Surprise surprise, we write lots of website content, so we can help there as well, but you do need to think of this beforehand, because:
- We need some information to be able to write content
- We need time to write the content
- The content needs to be reviewed and approved by you
- The approved content needs to be inputted on the site
In a nutshell, don’t forget that without content, your website can’t be launched (and it’s arguable whether it can even be designed).
A picture tells a thousand words and all that jazz, and you have to think of what imagery you want for your website.
If I had a penny for every time I was told “uwija, we’ll just use stock”, I’d have a vast penny collection.
Okay, you’re going to “just use stock”.
- Do you have a budget for stock imagery?
- What kind of stock imagery, which dominant colours?
- Stock images vary wildly, so a budget for photo editing will also be needed
- Are you sure you’re even going to find good stock images for your company?
- Are you willing to accept the fact that someone, somewhere, is going to use the same images?
Fine, let’s not use stock and hire a photographer. We can help with that too but, again, there are things to think about.
- What photos are needed and for which section/page on the website?
- Portrait or landscape?
- Where are we taking photos?
- Who is getting their photo taken?
Domain & Hosting
It’s my own fault for lumping them together here too, but your domain and your hosting are NOT the same thing.
Your domain name registration is basically your address on the web, so xyz.com or websitetaveru.mt.
Your hosting is where the files, database, and other things required for the website to run are kept.
Essentially, your domain name is just the address; your hosting is your entire house as presented to the world.
Obviously, you need to think about what domains you need or want, whether you are buying localised domains such as .mt or .it, and what kind of hosting you need.
You won’t be able to answer all these questions yourself, but we will help you make the right choices for your project.
Though you may not believe it, it is time well spent when we have a 45-minute meeting and we keep repeating the same questions. Annoying, we know.
But we’ve done this before, many times, and we know that, unless things are well and thoroughly prepared beforehand, there will be delays, dissatisfaction, and disappointment. Even more annoying.
So make sure to allow some time before and during the website process, where you have the presence of mind to think through all these questions and review designs and so on. If not, it will bite you later – it’s that simple.
To conclude (or begin)
You made it all the way through this post and now you are better prepared and more aware of what goes into building a website, and what is needed before getting started on a website project.
Your next step is to talk to a friendly web developer, so go on, say hello.