Use this checklist before starting your website
A lot of time and effort can be saved if you organize yourself before putting together a business website. Here’s a handy checklist of the things you need to gather before construction begins:
- Company logo. If you have a high resolution logo (300 dpi), that’s perfect. Most logos will be converted to gifs around 100KB or less, however, higher resolution is better to start.
- Pictures. Start a file on your computer with pictures you are going to use on your website. If you don’t have pictures, or are limited, there are several sites where you can buy stock photos for a few bucks each. I use most www.istockphoto.com most often for projects. Good selection for under 5-bucks per image. Another one I frequent is www.dreamstime.com and find plenty of high resolution images for under 5-bucks each.
- Keywords. This is important. Good web SEO is based upon keywords being used in your html, content, and alt tags. So make a list of 20 keywords that you want your potential customer to be able to search by to find you. This aids the designer, content writer in the early phases of the web project.
- Your goals. What is the purpose of your internet site? Write this down. Maybe it’s to secure leads. Maybe it’s to save money on printing. Maybe it’s to interact with the customer. Maybe it’s to position you as an industry expert. When you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, a web designer and writer can better help you with the construction of your website.
- Your target market. Who are your customers? Know the age, location, income, and other demographic and phsychographic characteristics of your target audience.
- Content. You need to have a plan for how many pages your website will be. Your front page directs viewers to inside pages. What will those inside pages contain? You don’t need to write the content yet, but it will really help to get a site map developed for your website if you know what you want the viewer to learn about your business.
- How often will you update the site? If you want to update the site (and I strongly recommend you do update regularly)…how will you do it? Do you want to hire someone for this, or can you do it yourself? Which areas will you update? Can you have a Latest News section, or a blog, or a newsletter? Another important reason for updates is that the Google bots look for new content. It will help your page ranking and searches to have updates.
- Deadline. Do you have a season or special event that you need to have this done by?
- Budget. I get asked this all the time. You have three options.
- Cheap: self publish it, or use a template, or get someone “hungry” to do it for you for under $1000.
- Average: Prepare to spend $3500-$4000 and you can get a very nice website. Good companies with good reputations are in this price range.
- Above Average: In my opinion, anything over $5000 is considered more than the norm. I know, it’s done all the time, and website development of 10K-25K is not uncommon. With those projects, there are special features, interactivity, and other bells and whistles that are jacking up the cost. Sometimes it’s worth it…you be the judge.
Having these nine items nailed down will help your web developer, and these can all be done prior to the first meeting.
-30-Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.