We build lots of websites for all kinds of people and organisations, yet much of what we need to know is similar regardless of the business, organisation or project.
Downloadable Website Planner
This is a document with questions to answer about your business and website that you can print/edit and provide to Jezweb or your web designer then we have such a downloadable Website Planner doc, here.
The aim of the document is to capture all the essential information and get you thinking about purpose and requirements for the website and objectives. It’s written with a small business or startup services business in mind but is easily applicable to a project website for a club or organisation.
The first thing most people think of when they are starting a new website is:
What will the domain name be?
Which is a fantastic question but there’s a lot more to setting up a website than just the domain name / web address than just whatever first comes to mind.
Try to pick a domain name that is:
- Short and Memorable
- Easy to Read, Spell and Speak
- Uniquely yours to brand
You can check the availability of a .com.au domain name here:
If it’s available as a .com as well then great but don’t get too stressed if it’s not. For localised business in Australia a .com.au is fine.
Check your company name in the ASIC database
If you are starting a business in Australia it is not advisable to have a name too similar to another businesses name.
Put your name into abr.business.gov.au and see what comes up.
If someone has already setup ABC Building Co Pty Ltd, then it would not be very helpful to name your business ABC Building and Construction Co. There may be legal implications depending on the situation and potentially you will make it harder for yourself to be found for your name / brand in Google.
There is more information about business names in Australia here:
and it’s worth checking the trademark database too
Logo, Colours and Branding
If you have already got a graphic designer to work out your logo, colours and style guide then you are going to have a good foundation for the overall appearance of the website.
A professionally prepared style guide may have multiple pages with various usage of the logo, colour inversions, application to printed material and signage, social media graphics, stock images, fonts (typefaces) and alignment, all sorts of aspects that carefully describe the usage of a company brand.
The essential elements though from the point of view of your web designer are going to be logo, colour and fonts.
Ideally there will be a high resolution file such as an ai, pdf or png or all of those.
We often prepare a basic web style guide for a site so that we all know what buttons are supposed to look like, fonts etc. Eg.
If you are going to pick a specific font then pick a Google Font, they are the best to work with and fastest to load.
There are plenty to choose from and they look great on the web. Well most of them do anyway.
The one thing that I really have trouble enjoying is reading very ornate of scripted fonts on websites, it seems to fly in the face of usability and readability.
There is no good reason to make it harder for visitors to read the text of a website unless you want them to go elsewhere!?
Other methods of applying fonts to websites such as cufon or typekit I believe are sub-optimal compared to the way that Google fonts look and work on the web.
Good quality and resolution images will be essential if a new site is going to look top notch. We have a subscription to www.bigstockphoto.com and www.shutterstock.com.au so you are welcome to request any photos you wish from there too and we will download them for you.
Preferably though is for us to have access to clear, well lit, interesting photos that are unique and specific to the organisation, services and people being promoted on the website. That way it is a lot more personal and visually authentic.
To setup a new website we will normally be:
- creating a homepage and inner pages layout designs
- template coding into a responsive WordPress theme
- organising information onto the pages
- optimise pages and keywords to suit
There is no reason for you to wait till we are at ‘step 3’ to get your words and images ready, its going to slow the whole process down.
It’s really helpful to have a good sense of the information that will be available to publish on the website and the areas of importance before any design is started so that the website has good focus and purpose.
Content to prepare for your new website
In an ideal situation we like our clients to be providing some or all of the following:
- high quality selection of relevant photos / videos
- list of services/products/topics and summarised benefits of them
- client testimonials and completed works as text / images
- other text, graphics and videos to publish
- any downloadable documents or pdfs
- colours, style and branding guidelines (if they exist)
- examples of desirable features on other websites.
So in brief: photos and words. Everything else is a bonus.
Original information and images
It’s important to remember that Google does not like plagarised or directly copied content from another website. If a page is too similar to another on the internet that is a sure way of having it be ignored and left out of the search results.
Think of it this way, if you searched for something in Google and the first 5 websites you clicked on where all pretty much just copies of each other how many times would you put up with that before you started looking for a new search engine? Not many would be my guess and so don’t expect to feed Google the same old stuff it has found on a bunch of other websites and get a result. It defies logic that would work and it does not work in practice either.
Sharing content with us
Sharing a folder to us via dropbox is an easy way to get everything centrally organised, otherwise via email, usb stick or whatever means possible.
Think like your customer
When we are creating a website we will try and think from the point of view of a potential new visitor to a website and what would be most useful to them.
This is where a degree of naivety can be to our advantage. Since we don’t have decades of experience in your field and we may have even dealt with a similar type of business as a customer can be fairly obvious to us what your customer might think because we could be one!
Be open to different perspectives
We aim to be open to the input, direction and preferences of our clients and where feasible will incorporate that into the design and build process so that the website meets all expectations.
Try to have a similarly open mind about what your web designer presents you and if what you have been told seems really odd then ask more questions.
You will benefit from being a bit flexible on requirements regardless of which web marketing agency you work with. Though they may not agree with everything you ask for so long as you have had an opportunity to make a reasoned decision with input from knowledgable people then as a customer you will generally get the ‘last say’ in matters of taste, style and content.