This is such a good question to ask… and one could say at the beginning, with one small step, right from where you are now… and all these are great places to start. However, for websites I tend to think more like looking at the big picture, the whole kit and kaboodle, where you want to end up, how you envisage it.
You see websites are a creative space, it’s an ideas platform, a visual representation of your business; and I think it tends to help the process if you can see your business online. We all visit a plethora of websites in our daily activity online and all of them make us feel something.
I want to take a side-step for a sec though and have you thinking of your website the same as you would a ‘bricks and mortar’ retail shop.
Take a wander through any shopping centre or stroll past a strip shopping mall and you may find yourself drawn to certain shops, their window displays, the energy as you pass, the colours, the logos and the list goes on. As you enter a store, think about it, was the door open and welcoming, did a door slide open for you as you stepped up to it, or was it difficult to enter? What was the layout like; easy to navigate your way around, or were there stands in your way? Did the person serving pop up in your face before you had a chance to look around, or perhaps there was no-one in sight to assist? Was the music loud and the colours bright, or could you hear a pin drop to the point where it was uncomfortable being there?
All of these things and many more make you feel like shopping in a store, make you want to be a part of their community, want to join in, make you want to shop there again, and make you want to tell others about the shop.
Your website is the same. It needs to represent your business, it should make your customers, both new and old, feel like being there. It should speak to them with your colours, your logo, the layout, images, the voice you use for your content. If you have a pop up is it in your face, does it serve a purpose, is it a call to action or a reason for a customer to join your community. Think of an image slider as the door which slides open as you approach the store… it lets your customers know a little about you and your business as they enter the site. Are you selling a product or service, and if so, is the shop layout clean, fresh, great images, easy to shop with and timely in delivery?
This is the fun part, the creative part, the design process and the questions which need to be asked before the site is up and running. Visiting websites, both in your industry and out, are a great way to get a feel for what you are thinking of or looking for for your business. This includes noting down what you don’t like! Pulling bits and pieces from different sites and creating a vision board is a great way to visually start to see your website coming together. This creates the big picture of what you envisage your business looking like online.
All this needs to be done before you start building your website. This process builds the vision and promotes an ownership, just as you would do when you walk into a physical store and commence building the retail space you would have designed before starting.
Having a website for your business is without doubt a fantastic arm to include in your overall plans; it can either be the sole method of running your business, or it can be an extension of your physical business. This is not to say you don’t have to work on it; a website needs constant conversation and communication with your clientele, just as a shop front does.
Check out our article – Why a Website? here for more information.
If you don’t have a website and don’t know where to start, or you have an existing site which isn’t singing your business’s praises then get in touch. I offer a FREE 30 minute Phone or Skype Website Strategy Session to get the ball rolling.