This document is a starting point in the process of helping you better market your business or endeavour; the process described here is common to everyone, so much so that we needed to structure this process and distribute this document to all of our clients. So, whether you’ve decided that you need to create a website, or to improve your current one, this is a general “road map” that you may find helpful. Here are some of the things that you need to consider, gather and get done to get your web site up and running. We recognize that you may be further along in your process and that some points may not apply to you but it always helps to review.
Your web site is the central core of your brand marketing and should work in tandem with any other advertising that you do, be it by email, business cards, telephone directories/yellow pages, television and radio, newspaper, magazine, trade and business newsletters and periodicals, trade shows and the new kid on the block, through social networks.
Careful planning brings all of these venues together in a cohesive presentation of your public image. All facets of your marketing plan should always point back to your web site where you are able to best present yourself or your endeavour in the most efficient and effective way. Of course, this doesn’t all happen overnight but long term planning ensures greater success.
It can save you a lot of time and money if you do some of the work; however, how much time do you have available for this project? It is important that you are honest with yourself, many clients start out meaning to do more but end up realizing that they really don’t have the time. Determining who has what project responsibility now, serves to provide a better structured time line for project execution.
As you go through this document and/or the process, if you have any discussion points or have questions, note these down for discussion at a later date. If you need our immediate assistance in any way don’t hesitate to call.
Once you have reviewed this document and decided and/or discussed the basics about what you want in your web site, this forms the basis of what is a “Client Interview”, a meeting between ourselves and you and/or your representatives to discuss a plan of action.
Fundamentals to consider:
For clarity of purpose, consider the following reasons for having a web site and rate them from one to ten, ten being most important to you. This is important because your ratings of each reason determine where we allocate our focus while building your website.
- To establish a web presence
- Increased positive company/brand awareness
- Increased product/services awareness
- Generate requests for information
- Generate direct product sales online (e-commerce)
- Reduce existing advertising costs
- Develop a list of prospects/leads
- Build retail or business traffic
- Internal communications
- Knowledge sharing
- Offer service or support
- Support existing marketing effort
- Provide information regarding new products/services
- Survey customers/prospects
Consider each of the following in turn and write down your responses for each question:
Who is your target market? – locale, age, interest, gender, affiliation, needs, etc.
What pages you’d like to have (Example – Home, Services, Contact, Blog, etc.)
Any advanced functionality that you’d like to see (mailing lists, ecommerce, etc.)
Any colour scheme or general layout that you’d like to see
Using as many adjectives, phrases, etc. that come to mind, what kind of “look and feel” would you like the new site to have? (i.e.: easy on the eyes, professional, lots of white space, tidy, brassy, eye catching, etc.)
A list of web sites that you find the design appealing or the functionality appropriate for your website and why.
Establish what your budget is for the project and discuss this with us. In this way, we can help you stay within budget and/or point out any discrepancies between desired end product and your budget.
Specifics to gather or compile and review:
Gather relevant usernames/passwords for your current domain name registrar, hosting account, web site FTP, etc. If you don’t have any of these, we can help you, give us a call.
Compile a brief description of your business, organization or purpose, using as many terms possible in one sentence that someone might use to search for your website.
Compile a list of up to 50 keywords or phrases that people might use to locate your web site when using a search engine.
Collect your digital multimedia assets – photos, movies, audio clips, logos, etc.
Document links to other sites, client or associate testimonials, definitions or glossary, contacts, membership lists, professional memberships, associations.
If you intend to sell products and services on line, you need to draft a catalogue of those products and/or services, listing the following for each item offered for sale – product categories, product names, product description, styles and colours available, prices and discounts, relevant photos of each items
Layout your “site map”, finalize what pages and sub-pages your site will have, what the page names will be and the menu hierarchy. Under each page name, write down a brief listing of what content would be on that page.
Review and finalize your textual content for every page – either use existing or create new content.
Select what multimedia elements (photos, videos, etc) are going on each page.
Textual content for your pages should be compiled in electronic format in a basic text editor (Notepad or WordPad) so that it can be “cut and pasted” when needed.
Photo and video “master copies” need to be saved in the highest resolution possible – we can always resize smaller but it doesn’t work to resize larger.
Don’t have any photos? You can certainly take them yourselves but, remember that images on your site need to be clear, crisp and compelling. While you can get a professional photographer to take photos, you can also consider what’s available in stock photography and graphics – check out istockphoto.com. See images that you like? Note the SKUs of those images and we will purchase the correct sizes for your project.
Building the Web Site
- Domain Name Management – transfer, registration, update contacts
- DNS Management – create or update DNS records for domain
- Domain Hosting – configure domain control panel, set FTP accounts/passwords
- Email Services – create desired email accounts and passwords
- Client Interview – allocate responsibilities, gather required information
- Record and secure all information for client files.
- Install and configure WordPress – (lets assume that this is a WordPress site)
- Selection of a theme based on client requirements
- Implement custom theme, page/post templates, code tweaks
- Selection of plug-ins for required functionality, install and configure
- Sizing of photos to suit selected theme
- Creation of page and menu hierarchy in WordPress
- Cut and paste text into pages, text formatting
- Insertion of multimedia objects into pages
- Insertion of maps, graphs, lists, etc.
- Creation of special pages – Splash or Front Page, Photo Gallery Page, Contact etc.
- Web site review for spelling and grammar, formatting and syntax, testing for functionality
- Final review of site with client, make adjustments as necessary
- Site Launch
- WordPress How-To Videos – The Basics of using WordPress
- WordPress.org – WordPress home page
- WordPress Codex – WordPress documentation
- WordPress Free Themes – WordPress Official Theme Directory
- WordPress Plug-ins – WordPress Official Plug-in Directory
- Theme Forest Themes – Professional WordPress Themes
- Elegant Themes – Professional WordPress Themes
- Search Google for Professional WordPress Themes
- istockphoto.com – Professional Photos and Graphic Library