The importance of getting the right website is often underestimated. Sometimes the misconception is that you create a website and then people come and visit the website. It’s not as simple as that because there are many factors that make a website great, not only in terms of design and functionality but also in terms of visibility and letting the world know it even exists.
Where do you start?
When you’re looking for someone to build your website it’s important to work with the right person. The right web designer for you has to be a good fit with your personality, your values and your business. It’s about building a relationship with that person.A good web designer will give you tons of value and support and help give you the tools to help your business grow. @umbrelladigita1 Click To Tweet
What kind of content should you present on your website?
It is crucial to get the right content on your website. Your website should be presented in a way that it helps to solve your client’s problems. People want to come to your website and find out how you can solve their problem or help them with their pain points. They don’t want to read your autobiography and a list of credentials, they are not interested in that. All they are interested in is finding out what’s in it for them, if they work with you.
Provide information about the services you offer as well and clear signposting with “Calls to Action” that stand out to take them where you want them to when they visit your website. Make it easy for them to get in touch with you through a contact page and where else they can check you out and get to know you more.
Having a regular blog is also a must. Writing about your subject matter on a regular basis gives information, support and help freely to people who need to know more. The key is to give a whole lot of value, support and help by writing about what you know so people can help themselves. In that way, you are also positioning yourself as someone who knows about their subject matter and keeps you in people’s minds as a “go to” person for that subject. Having regular content through your blogs also helps with your visibility and SEO optimisation, which means Google may get to see more of you by regularly creating good content on your website.
How much does it cost to build a house?
The subject of pricing is obviously a major consideration. Think of it this way. If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t approach a construction company and say, “How much will it cost to build me a house?” and for them to give you an answer straight away. How can the construction company give you an answer when they don’t even know what kind of house you want? They don’t know how many rooms you want, what you want those rooms to do, how you want those rooms set out and many other factors to take into account from the foundations to the roof. Apply the same principle to a website. Without having more of a dialogue with a client you don’t know what it is they actually want their website to achieve for their business and what problems they want solutions for. The biggest question to ask is WHY do they want the website in the first place.
The talk of pricing comes after you have had that conversation first, then you can put together a realistic proposition based on how the website will solve their why.
In the marketplace you can pay as little as £500 and as much as £50,000. It’s not the price tag you should be considering first but how you want your house built.
What tools do you need to develop a website?
I build all my websites on a Content Management System called WordPress. WordPress now powers over 25% of all websites and is a powerful and functional tool. It’s open source software which means it’s free and the support and knowledge out on the internet is easily accessible so it’s easy to find out how to solve problems when things go wrong or you come across problems. The WordPress community is a very supportive one, ultimately those involved with WordPress want to make it the best resource available to all who use it.
How long can a website project take?
That depends on the project and the commitment of the parties involved in the build. Most sites take anything between 4-8 weeks depending on many factors. It’s important that a client is very focused on their WHY and that they are in the right place and the right time to start a project. If they are not in the right place, it’s not the right time to build a website.
I follow a process of gathering the right information and content to support the client through the building process. With both parties equally committed to timings agreed up front and providing content on time, a project can be completed swiftly easily within the timeframes. You need to dedicate your time and effort in working with your web designer to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible.
Keeping the cogs turning
A lot of people ask how they manage their website afterwards. Think of a website like a car. You regularly keep your car serviced and maintained. This keeps everything running smoothly and can pre-empt any problems. Think of a website in the same way. If you run a car and don’t keep it topped up with petrol, oil and see to any warning lights on the dashboard, the car will eventually stop working. The same can be applied to a website. If a website is monitored, backed up, kept secure and up to date on an ongoing basis, you won’t have any problems and if you do, they will be resolvable. If you don’t do any of this, you will end up in a heap of trouble and a broken website. I always work on the basis of maintaining the client relationship by taking care of all the updating and website management after the website has been built so that the website is optimised, efficient and safe at all times.
A bit about me
Who are you?
I’m Imogen Allen, a web designer based in Staffordshire in the UK. I work with clients virtually around the world.
What do you love about your job?
I love helping people and solving their problems. I like the fact that I make my own decisions in business. I love having conversations with people I have made connections with people all over the world. My “why” is to have the flexibility to run a business doing what I love and to fit it around my family so that I have the best of both worlds!
What is your favourite software, app or tool to do your job?
I have 2 favourite apps right now. Firstly is LastPass. LastPass is a password management tool and an absolute life saver. I work with different clients and different systems you can imagine the list of passwords that I have to have access to. I seem to have rather a lot of my own as well, so I use it to manage my passwords and keep everything safe and secure.
My other favourite is Dubsado which is a tool to help you manage invoices, contracts, proposals and workflow. It’s a perfect all in one solution for managing your projects. It also has a Client Portal too so Clients can have easy access to their documentation. You can use it as a workflow tool as well and help you to automate a few processes. It’s been perfectly designed to work for Creative Agencies, Web Designers, Graphic Designers and Virtual Assistants as well.
What is the most important skill you need to be effective?
The most important skill to be effective is clear, open and honest communication. My top tip is to always remember that the person that you are communicating with doesn’t always know what you know so relay what you need to say in an untechnical and easy to understand way. Also, don’t assume things, always ask what may seem the obvious thing, so that both you and your client are really clear on what needs to be done. There is no such thing as a silly question!
Thanks so much Imogen for some great info on the importance of getting a website right.
You can find out more about Imogen and Umbrella Digital via the following: