So you want to build a website?

My sister recently reached out to me about how her church should go about redesigning their website. I think she was just expecting for me to say, “Use this platform, not that one.” She got a lot more information than that and I thought it’d be good to share some of that information in this blog.

First, your website is one of the most important aspects of your marketing. It is where people go to learn more about you, determine if you’re legitimate and can lead to sales and leads. The most important thing to consider when designing your website is credibility. Without that it doesn’t matter how great your information is and without credibility it is tough to make a sale. That is why it so important to have a process for building a website.

Simplified down to eight steps, that process is:

  1. Analysis – Assuming you have an old website, what worked well, what didn’t? Take a look at Google Analytics and see what pages were most visited, how long were people staying, what paths did they take?
  2. Strategy – What are your organization’s goals for the website? What does it need to do and what do you want it to do? Prioritize what is most important. For example, if one aspect of your business makes up 75% of your profitable business, that should probably be prioritized over another business offering.
  3. Content Architecture – What are the different sections of your website? How are they related to other sections and pages? This is where you take the strategy and apply it to the content to determine the site map. This results in a goal-oriented, focused organization of the website.
  4. Content Development – You’ve determined the different areas of the website, but now have to develop the content that is going to fill those areas. This includes text, images, videos, testimonials, etc. Content is king and is the most important aspect of a website.
  5. Graphic Design – Depending on the size and shape of your organization this may be merged with the next step. However, this is where you align and design your website according to your brand, color scheme, logo, typography, etc. You may need to purchase new graphics or have a photo shoot as well.
  6. Web Design – This is the process of turning the graphic design and turning it into code for your website. The good news is that there are many options out there that simplify this process for you. Most of the time this requires deciding on a platform, choosing a theme and then editing that theme so that it incorporates your branding and information.
  7. Launch – When you’re finished designing your new website and you’ve reviewed it numerous times on numerous devices by numerous people, this is the step when it goes live. On the technical side of things, this is when you point your domain name to the web host so that the new website appears when someone types in your website URL. This is also where you’d want to link your website to Google Analytics, Google Search Console and other useful tools.
  8. Maintenance – A website is a living, breathing thing. It needs to be regularly updated with content (ex: blogs) and back-end themes, plugins, platforms get regular updates for security and other purposes. This is also where you can track how your new website is doing via analytics, etc.

Like many things in life, the journey or process is the important part. Without utilizing a process, it is easy to forget important aspects to your website. You can have the most amazing website in the world with all the nifty gadgets, but if it isn’t aligned with your business goals and doesn’t help support the growth of your organization, what good is it?

If you have other questions or just want to talk websites, feel free to shoot me an email.

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