Website: Where do I begin?

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On a regular basis we have clients approaching us looking for a website for a brand new business/enterprise that they are launching. This is one of our favourite projects as new clients are the best and we love nothing more than helping them create their online presence. Unfortunately we can’t do it all.

A well designed website is an essential communication tool. There are many items that come together in the creation of a great website, and in order to have the best possible result, it’s helpful for a client to consider them prior to beginning the development process.

1. Name/Branding/Logo

This is a much bigger topic, especially when it comes to branding. Depending on the company, one might need to spend thousands of dollars for a world-class brand, however others can get away with spending much less. A lot comes down to the industry the business is in; but the one piece of advice we have is to avoid discount online logo services (ie: Fiverr, 99 Designs etc). You might get a serviceable logo from those services, however that is all that you will get; similar to having a great ingredient when cooking, but no recipe to help you figure out how to use it. We also believe in paying people what they’re worth…but that’s a topic for another tale.

There is more to a brand than a logo. One of our favourite descriptor for a brand is:

a well-considered brand; this implies that some thinking has been put behind the work, behind the logo, behind the colour scheme, behind the typefaces etc…It’s not just a random combination of colours, letters and shaped combined together.

Either way, you will need a brand, or at least a logo, before starting a website. We’re happy to help you with this of course, or we will happily incorporate another designer’s work.

2. Hosting (Domain + Website)

All websites require a place where they are stored (hosted). These hosts commonly fall into two categories: Services (ie: Wix, WordPress.com, Shopify etc…) or Website Hosts (GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Media Temple etc…). Both have their advantages and disadvantages and we will help guide you through that decision making process based on your business and the services/goods you are offering.

3. Content

Content is a big one. It’s an incredible amount of work and a large percentage of clients we’ve run across over the years haven’t realized how much work it actually takes to create great content. A very common reason for delays on a website launch is lack of content. Our job is also made much easier if we’ve received the content upfront. Sure, a website can be developed without the final content, however when one can design/develop around existing content, the website usually ends up being more successful. We also work with some great people who rock at content creation.

4. Photography and/or Illustrations

A picture really is worth a thousand words. Photography can make or break a website. Good photography can be expensive, but those images are helping communicate a message. Stock photos are an option, though one has to be careful selecting stock photos. Illustrations can also be costly, and free icon sets are available, but photography and illustrations should always be a consideration for budgets.

With these items at top of mind, and some ready to go, the website development process will be much easier for both the client and the developer. What to do once the website is launched is a different beast. Some businesses only require an online presence, while others need a full marketing plan, an ongoing SEO rollout, and/or a social media strategy. That’s a topic for another Tale.

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