Building a Website: A Staged Process
Websites are a critical component of doing business today. Consumer trends have changed dramatically over the last 10 years, with more people turning to the internet than ever before for their business, leisure and commercial research, trading and booking.
Investing in a professional website is an important step of business development. An effective website will be a powerful addition to your sales and marketing collateral. It will bring you business. It will be the ‘face’ of your company in the competitive online environment.
Developing a website can be daunting. Where do you start? Cairns Web Designs are pleased to assist, by providing the 10 steps to building a new website.
Step 1. You want a new website: formulate a plan.
When thinking about a website for your business, it is important to spend some time researching what you would like, before you even approach website developers. What are you trying to achieve with your new website? What features and functionality would you like it to have? Does it need a contact form / booking form? Do you want it to have e-commerce facilities, so you can take payments online? Do you want to be able to manage the content yourself? Have a look at your online competitors, see what they have done and learn from their mistakes, before preparing your own site. Formulate a plan for your new website, so you have a strategy and concept for website developers to quote on.
Step 2. Getting quotes: choosing a website developer.
Research is a good starting point. Have a look online, search for website designers and see who comes up. Ideally, if you want your website to rank in the search engines, then your website designer’s site should already be ranking. If they can’t rank themselves, how will they help you? Have a look at their portfolios and see if you like their design styles. Have a look at websites you like and see who built them. Speak to you friends; see if they can recommend someone. Get three quotes. Make sure you shop around to find a website designer that speaks your language and can deliver you a product to suit your budget and business.
Step 3. Register a domain name.
Cairns Web Designs can assist with this. It is best to choose something simple, based on your business name or the services / product you supply. You will be surprised at what domain names are available. Tip: If the .com and .com.au domain names are available, it is a good idea to register both. This stops your competitors from putting a website up on a domain name that is similar to yours and stealing your business.
Step 4. Gather your resources.
Once you have confirmed Cairns Web Designs as the preferred developer of your new site, it’s time to gather all of the resources you will need. The basic elements required for a new website include a logo and/or branding elements (corporate colours), written content and images. The quality of each of these three elements will determine how good your finished website is. If you have poor quality images and no written content, then your website is unlikely to look good or rank with search engines, no matter how good your website designer is. Tip: It is worthwhile investing in these three critical elements, to maximise the appearance and performance of your new website.
Step 5. Creative & development brief.
To some extent, this may already have been completed as a part of Step 2, however, it is worth investing time and energy into providing Cairns Web Designs with a comprehensive brief for your new website, before they begin work. If you have seen other websites you like, show them to Cairns Web Designs, so they know what you are looking for. If you require specific functionality and features on your new website, like a booking form or Content Management System, then let Cairns Web Designs know at the outset, so these can be factored into the design concept created for your new website.
Step 6. Design concept.
Once you have briefed Cairns Web Designs on your requirements, they will prepare design concepts for your consideration. Tip: They will need your logo and images to assist with this process. The concept is usually shown to you as a “flat” image file, for your consideration and approval. If you want to make changes to the design concept, this is the best time to do it. Once you approve the design, Cairns Web Designs will proceed to coding the site for final review.
Step 7. Website coding & development.
This step is pretty straight forward. Once you have approved the design concept, Cairns Web Designs will code and develop your website, using the approved design and incorporating your copy and images into a functional website. The time this takes will vary, depending on the number of pages in your site and the site features.
Step 8. Preview.
Once coding and development is completed, Cairns Web Designs will upload your new website to a holding page, for your review. At this time, the website will be fully functional, with its navigation and features, but will not be visible to the public. This is your opportunity to review the site and ensure all content and imagery has been included.
Step 9. Hosting.
Website hosting is another element to the development of your new website. This step can be completed at the end of the process, just prior to launching the site, or at the beginning, when you complete domain name registration. Hosting is an external cost to website design and is an annual fee. Hosting is basically paying for the “space” that your website occupies on the internet. It is similar to paying a line rental fee for your phone. Cairns Web Designs can assist with web hosting advice, to secure you the most reliable service at the best rate. Ask for more information.
Step 10. Completion: your website is now live.
Once you have approved your website on its holding page and completed hosting arrangements, your new website can be made “live”. Tip: Search engines will not find your new website automatically; it can take a couple of months for ‘Google’ to find your site on the internet. Unfortunately patience is a virtue here. There are steps you can take to fast track the process and Cairns Web Designs can tell you how. Ask for more information.