Are you ready to design your own website? Perhaps you want to create a web presence to sell a product, promote an event or raise awareness about a special cause. With some careful consideration, organization and implementation of best practices, you can create a unique web presence that can help you achieve your goal.
Yes, you can build a site using whatever means you choose, but that doesn’t necessarily equate into visits and/or a successful website. If users cannot identify the primary purpose of your site, then how can that purpose be fulfilled? If users cannot complete the primary goal of the site such as the acquisition of an item or information, then what was the purpose of creating that web presence? This leads us to the first thing that you must consider when preparing to launch your web presence:
1. Consider the purpose of your site. Are you soliciting donations? Raising awareness about an event or a cause? Keeping members informed about news or developments? Are you promoting and/or distributing a product?
2. Focus on your content and the kinds of questions that you should be considering. Will you or a third party be generating content or will the content be aggregated from elsewhere? Will the site be text heavy or more graphical in nature? Will there be a lot of videos or multimedia? Will there be interactivity such as polls, surveys, forms, or e-commerce? What about social media or third party apps and widgets (e.g. Weatherbug, Amber Alert) or a widget that is specific to your product, cause, event?
3. Turn your attention to your target audience. How will visitors find your site? How will they be viewing your site? Will the site be viewed on mobile devices such as an iPad or a mobile phone, or on a desktop with a large monitor? Will your audience have special needs that require some level of 508 compliance? Will you be relying on search engines, social media or word of mouth to drive traffic to your site?
4. Focus on the maintenance of the site. You might think it’s odd to consider the maintenance of site that hasn’t been built but you do have to live with what you build so some early preparation can spare you wasted time later. How often will you update the content? Will there be multiple authors adding or updating the content? Is the site supporting a one-time event and then it will be removed? Do you want the site to be maintenance free? Or will the site be maintained by a third party?
So many questions and so little time especially as each question sparks others. You want a site and you wanted it live yesterday, right? However, with careful consideration early on, you can avoid creating a site that alienates users or prohibits the site from achieving its goal. Take the time to document and review what we have touched on here.
Urgency is typically a priority when building a web presence but remember that you have to live and work with what you build. Even if your site has a short shelf life, if you have a goal and your site has a purpose, why not do your best to enhance the likelihood of its success through careful consideration of purpose, content and audience; organization of content, site flow and design; and implementation of best practices.
Next up, organizing the content on your site to maximize site flow and enhance design.Do you have any website construction thoughts? Please share below: