New Website Checklist
Whether you have a website already in need of a refresh, or thinking about designing and building a brand-new website, there are lots of factors to consider. The below list of high level considerations is your guide to help you get the most out of your project.
- Purpose - what is the main purpose of your website? Is it to educate, nurture, convert prospects, or the whole journey? Would you like your website to be used as a selling tool for your field or inside sales i.e. to refer customers to certain areas of your site or landing pages? You might want your website to recruit potential business partners or investors. So before you embark, decide with your team, 'what are the three main things that are important to you in your new web design?'
- Target audience(s) - which personas will use the site? Think about potential customer user journeys. What actions do you want your visitors to take (customers, prospects, partners)? If you need to carry out a persona exercise, then book a Discovery Call with us.
- Budgets - do you have a budget you would like to meet? Good websites don't necessarily need big budgets. But good websites that not only look nice but work for your business, do take time. So consider this when selecting or working with web teams.
- Timescales - do you have a timescale in mind? E.g. any events or inflection points in the market coming up that may affect your time, or indeed you will want to capitalise on with your new or improved website?
- Project Management - Who from your side needs to be involved in the project? Any good website design development team will create milestones for sign off. While website design by committee is never conducive, you will also need 'buy in' for your latest investment. So it is good to decide this beforehand and offer your website team an idea of who in your team needs to be involved and at what points. Also include their level of availability, so your web team can incorporate this into their plan. Ask your web team who will be involved in the project from their side i.e. will there be project managers, specialist web designers, developers, content writers etc.
Secret Source Tip - With the strategy and planning in place, then a lot of time, budget and heartache is saved later down the line.
- Hero images - do you have a favourite hero image or vision for the first impression that best represents you. Do you want to use licensed stock photography or commission your own?
- Multi-Media - Would you like to use video on your new website, now or in the future?
- Competition - you don't want to look like your competition, so to differentiate yourself then review what it is they are doing, without getting too influenced.
- Keepers - Parts of your website you'd like to keep. If you're doing a refresh or retrofit of your site, then tell the website team which areas that you, or more importantly, areas your audience likes?
- Pet Hates - List down your pet hates on websites. Tell your web designer what doesn't work in your marketplace. For example, if you're not a fan of parallax style sites, then best to tell a web developer or web designer now!
- Business Partners - consider how you might like to include and link to business partners.
- Assets – think about all the assets you would like on your site? Downloads, brochures, tech sheets etc. Maybe you don't have them today, but worth considering, so the website designer and developer can think to the future.
Structural Website Factors
- How many pages are required? Don't worry, if time or budget is an issue, then you can always choose to phase your project to get to your dream website. It is always best to have the vision first to the end result, as opposed to bolt on pages or whole sections later, as this usually affects the overall customer user journey. So start to draft out a rough sitemap of pages desired. Get your website designer to help you at this stage if you need.
- Home Page - The home page is not the only route in. It is important to note that some users don't often start at the top of the page and scroll down. Users will click around and discover information that is useful to them. They might not even start at your home page, they might want to enter straight into a solution page to get what they need. So don't just invest the time on your home page and ignore the rest. Speak to a Secret Source Specialist if unsure?
- Content Management System (CMS) - would you like to be able to make changes to text and images, or are you happy for your website team to do this?
- E-Commerce - Do you require any e-commerce now or in the future? If the answer is yes, then there is a whole series of specific questions you can ask yourself. Get in touch for more information.
- Getting Found - Is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and important consideration? You should look to have some form of SEO strategy when considering your website so that people can find you. Also consider Search Engine Marketing (SEM) on page strategy when reviewing your new site. Brief in the keywords you want your site to be known for so a designer and developer can incorporate this into their web design/build.
- Paid Strategy - Do you plan to use Paid as a strategy? It is good to think about how your paid strategy could/does play out, as ultimately the customer user journey will end up at your new website.
- Geographies - Does your website need to be multi-country and/or multilingual. This is a good conversation to have on review of your new site, even if it is planned for subsequent phases. Cultural consideration of your customer user journey is the sign of a well thought out website.
- Security - think about the levels of security on your site. An SSL certificate is a must. If you need one for a new site we suggest it gets purchased, and you retain ownership then your web developer can help you apply it. Speak to us for more details. Also consider password protected areas.
- Widgets - Do you need widgets like calculators, calendars, chat tools, RSS feeds? It is good to discuss this on the brief stage.
- Search Function - do you require a search function on the site to help users?
- Policies - remember to get your cookie and privacy policies all in order. Together with any terms and conditions ready to give to the website team for inclusion on your website.
- Domain names - are you keeping your domain name or redirecting other domains? Then put this in the brief. You might want to consider buying domain names to protect your brand. Speak to one of our specialists for advice.
- Sales and Marketing Tech Stack around the site? CRM, Automation, web tools? Collection of data – how and why? Tech surrounding the website e.g. applications? A new website or refresh is a great opportunity to review this area of your business.
- Hosting & Maintenance - Consider how your website needs to be hosted and maintained. Where in the world will your site sit? Does it need a dedicated server, or is it fine on a shared environment? Consider your email server hosting. Factor this into your overall cost of ownership when reviewing and budgeting for your website? There are some cheap offers in the marketplace, but what if your website goes down, what are the service level agreements (SLA's), who do you speak to, what are the support functions you think you'll need? So ask about the level of ongoing support and costs for your website. For information on what Secret Source would advise on your website, then, get in touch.
- Onboarding - Ask to find out the web team have onboarding procedures come go-live. Will they help sort out the technical activities or just hand over designs? Ask one of our Secret Source Web Onboarding Team what is involved if unsure?
Your website is a powerful tool in the growth of your business, so it is important to start out on the right foot. If you would like help in answering some of these questions and more, then please get in touch with our Website Design and Website Development Teams. Click Here