We’ve built much knowledge and understanding over the course of developing a wide variety of websites, but we recognise that educating people about websites is something we do on an almost daily basis. So, we’ve started this blog series ‘On Websites’ to help you through the process of what kind of website you require for your business, organisation or brand. We start with trying to understand your requirements…
A great website requires thought at every step of its creation. Below, we have included a checklist to better help you in understanding your website and online business needs.
Be as specific as possible about the goals of your website, are they to:
• Endorse a product or service and/or sell it on your online store
• Providing knowledge, resources or research content
• Promote your company, business or a brand
• Raise awareness of a charity or cause
Who will be the key visitors, and users, of your website? We break them down into the following areas:
• External Audience – These people could be other businesses in, or outside, your sector; consumers who shop for goods online and/or offline; sport/music/arts enthusiasts or groups who follow social/ fashion trends; children or teenagers, mums, dads or grandparents! The key is to gain understanding into your current customers and why/how they may use your website.
• Internal Audience – Who will access your website for its management? This could mean key figures in IT, marketing or human resources; your manager, M.D or C.E.O, yourself or even any employee who volunteers to look after the website.
We recommend a good look at your competitor’s websites, identify features that you like and would want to incorporate in your website. Note the “look and feel” of their websites and the services provided, e.g. forms, online shopping etc. and the audience they are targeting.
4. STRUCTURE & CONTENT
Last, but by no means least, have some clear ideas about your website’s structure along with text and media content (images, flash animations, audio or video files). This area can be broken down into the following aspects for consideration:
• Information – About Us, Contact Us, Employees, Privacy, Copyright & related pages
• E-commerce functions – shopping cart, catalogue, credit card handling, manage products (add, edit or delete), order forms
• Customer help features – chat features, forums, site search, feedback, enquiry forms & share features for social networks
• Administrative features – member log-in, admin log-in, manage content (e.g. add, edit or delete website images)
Don’t forget, we’re here to help you clarify anything described above to make sure your website needs are met. You may not necessarily use the order we have provided above and you may even find some points overlapping others. For example, your goals may change as you research more of your competitors’ websites. If you prefer, jotting down some quick notes and sketches will help you gather your ideas and make sure you are prepared when we start to develop your website!