When you think about getting a new website, what skills do you think are needed? Web Design. Check. Web Development. Check.
You don’t want any old website though. I’m sure you want one that attracts loads of visitors, makes loads of money, has loads of members or generates loads of enquiries for your business.
If that’s what you want, definitely work with a good designer and developer, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run if you get people with all the right skills on your team from the start.
Depending upon the size of the project, you might work with different people to cover each skill set, or some people on your team may have a variety of skills. Each person on your team should be evaluated based on their skills, experience and results they have achieved for other websites.
A web designer creates the look and feel of your website, including layout, style, colour scheme, graphics, images and navigation.
- Tip for Good Web Design Have easy navigation and a clean layout to make visitors want to come back to your site and maximise the opportunities for your visitors take an action, like making a purchase or submitting an enquiry.
A web developer creates the website, programming the back end to make your website functional in doing whatever you want it to do, like providing information or selling products and making the functionality work.
- Tip for Good Web Development Having easy to read, text based URLs on your website instead of a lot of characters that can’t read easily is good for both people and search engines.
For example www.grassrootsinternetstrategy.com.au/skills-to-make-a-website
You need someone to pull the team together, communicate information to everyone who needs it and make sure the key tasks are getting done according to the agreed timeframe.
- Tip for Good Project Management Give the project management responsibilities to someone who has a good overall understanding of all aspects of creating a good website.
Ultimately the content that you put on your website will influences how long people keep reading it, viewing your videos etc. It’s not good enough just to copy existing words from a flyer or brochure. The text needs to be easy to skim read (people move fast when reading the web) and highlight key information.
- Tip for Good Web Copywriting Including keywords in your copy in places like the Page Title (Title Tag), Meta Description, Headings, Links and Body Copy helps search engines know what your website is about and makes the copy relevant to what your website visitors are looking for.
Generally speaking, online marketing means marketing your products or services using the internet. Read more about some methods of online marketing including using Social Media like Twitter and Content Marketing, which is creating and sharing new web content on a regular basis to increase your web traffic, build links and expand your network.
- Tip for Thorough Online Marketing Web traffic doesn’t just happen. You need to be proactive in promoting your website as much as possible. Plan your online marketing well in advance of your website going live. Combine a variety of different marketing activities. For example, writing a new blog article, sharing it on Twitter, using it to start a discussion on LinkedIn and sending it to your list of email subscribers.
Once you get visitors to your website, they need to be able to use it, understand your content and ideally they should be guided toward the action you want them to take.
- Usability Tip Read Steven Krug’s book, “Don’t Make Me Think” (if you haven’t already). It will change the way you look at every website you visit.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation is a form of marketing your website online, by helping it appear high up in search engine results so that a lot of people see it. I put it at the end of the list because there are aspects of SEO covered by people in all the above areas. If you have a significant website project you might have one consultant focused purely on SEO. For smaller websites the SEO function might be shared between the designer, developer, web copywriter, online marketer or others.
- Search Engine Optimisation Tip Whoever it is that looks after your SEO, make sure it’s included in your plan, particularly from a development, link building and copy writing point of view.
Be logical and sensible when getting your new website created.
- Plan it carefully
- Seek advice from people with suitable skills and qualifications
- Get input from others along the way (particularly those in your target audience)
- Test it to make sure everything works
- Once it’s up and running, monitor the results so that you can continually improve
- And never sign a contract with a web professional until you’re sure about what they are doing and why, and what is, and isn’t included in the price.
If you get input from someone with each of these skill sets before you start creating your website, you’ll be on the way to getting a great new website that gets results.
This article was written with input from the members of the Holistic Web Site Performance Group on LinkedIn. Thank you to everyone who provided input.