Join Whitney Johnson for an in-depth discussion in this video Building a website, part of Entrepreneurship Foundations (2014).
There are several elements to building a good website. The first is usability. Because users are not patient enough to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where information is. Menu items need to be clear. Text needs to be readable. Navigation should be easy with important information less than 2 clicks away. The site should be designed to work with any type of browser and on any type of device, whether on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
The second consideration is structure. Just as a builder uses blueprints to build a house, you want a blueprint for your site. Creating a website goes much more smoothly if you take the time to sketch either by hand or on a computer. What the pages will actually look like? Where menus will go? What they will be called? And where photos and text blogs will go? You'll then want to consider layout. The layout should be clean and engaging to the primary users and customers.
Branding, colors, and fonts should be consistent throughout. And remember to optimize your site for lead generation and conversion. I recommend that you use HubSpot's free marketing grader, a tool that measures and analyzes all of your marketing efforts as checklist. If you build the website yourself, there are number of good options. The first is WordPress, which can be used as a blog or the back end of a regular website. Another is Squarespace, a hosted service that allows you to build sites with a drag and drop editor.
If you're looking for an E-commerce solution, Shopify and Big Cartel are reputable. If you decide to hire someone to build your website, be aware that there is a difference between a web designer and a web developer. The designer is like an architect, the creative expert who creates the look of the site. They work with you to make sure the pre-designed sketches look the way you want. The designer then mocks up the site and hands it off to the web developer. A web developer is like a builder, the one writing the code.
Taking the creative vision of the client and designer and making sure the website looks and functions correctly. For basic sites, you may want to go the route of a designer who can do basic programming customizations on WordPress or Squarespace. Even if you are outsourcing the build, you will still need to give some real thought to the structure and layout. Will your blog run ads? Do you need to shop? What do you want people to learn about the services and/or products you provide? Designer Macy Robison who I frequently work with, always asks for inspiration images or even a lists of links to other sites I like, so as to get an idea of my aesthetic as well as out of my competitors.
The designer will ask you if you already own a domain and have hosting set up. They can either instruct you on how to acquire these or they will provide that service for you. They will also ask for any logos, marketing, or design elements previously utilized by your business to make sure the branding is cohesive. Your website is both the calling card and point-of-sale. You want to get this right.
- Cite the steps that can help you find an unmet need.
- Differentiate between a business and a hobby.
- Recognize how to decide between an online business and a brick and mortar business.
- Describe how to protect your intellectual property.
- Explain the best practices for hiring the right people.
- Recall the importance of tapping into networks of expertise.
- Cite the best practices for building a business website.
- Summarize the best metrics to use for your online business.