dreaming of a great website

When starting out in business, you’re eager, optimistic and have fairly high expectations of what you want to achieve.

The only problem is those high expectations come at a price and not one generally, that your start-up budget can stretch to.

Let’s take your website for example. This is going to be your online store front. It is the first thing potential clients will see and probably, the first contact (albeit virtual) they will have with you.

You want something amazing; something that will knock their socks off, something that’s the equivalent of what all your huge competitors have.

Sounds great, but those competitors have been around for a while and have much bigger pockets, therefore your dreams are going to have to be curtailed.

The title of this post is how to get the website of your dreams – the best way to achieve that is to forget your fancy ideas and think about your customers.

What do they need?

To be honest with you, it’s their opinion you should be taking note of, not anyone elses.

Finding a good web designer

As in all walks of life, there are great designers and there are some pretty poor ones.

The best advice is to do your research and don’t just opt for the cheapest deal.

You want to make sure you find a designer who is skilled enough to give you what you want (although what you want will have to fit your budget). If you find a designer that’s cheap it’s probably because a) they’re not very good or b) they have a limited skill set and will therefore try to shoe horn you into a sub standard product just because that’s the only thing they can do.

Take a look at the work they’ve done, ask to speak to some of their existing clients (this will give you an idea of what their after sales service is like) and quiz them about web design and search optimisation. Granted, a designer isn’t going to be a world-class SEO, but they should have some idea.

What to do once you have a designer

The next step to your dream website is research. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and do it better. Again, you’re going to have financial constraints, but this could be as simple as having your content details prominently displayed rather than just having a chat forum. Perhaps you could offer downloadable guides and offline, providing outstanding customer service.

If your budget allows, try and stay away from template websites. They look too samey and you need something that’s going to make you stand out.

Think about your customers

Part of the research I mentioned above also includes your customers.

They are the ones that will be visiting your website so it’s important to make sure its design, functionality and copy all focus on them and give them what they want.

Often I see beautifully designed websites that just focus on the company, its achievements, awards and that sort of stuff. Yes, you could argue that is important because it shows credibility, bla, bla, bla, but your customers only want to know how your’re going to help them.

They don’t care how plush your offices are or stuff like that, they just want to know how you’re going to make their life easier.

So what should you be looking for?

OK, to sum up, this is how you get the website of your dreams:

  • Carefully research designers and don’t just plump for the cheapest
  • Do your research and make sure your site offers something different
  • Think about what your customers want and make sure you focus on their needs
  • Resist the urge to talk about yourself and confine your content to what you’ll do for your customers.