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So, it’s time for a new website. You’re last one is starting to creak a little in its old age and you want to have something shiny and new for your clients to enjoy. You find a developer and you say “Hey, let’s make something amazing!” Eager to oblige, your developer gets out their notepad and says “Great! What sort of thing are you looking for?” This is where you realise you don’t have a fully fleshed out idea.
Not knowing exactly what you want is fine, it’s what designers are here to help with. However, there’s a lot to consider when outside of the standard “looks nice” remit. While that’s an important factor, there’s a lot to consider before any design work begins.
What do you want the sites focus to be?
It sounds painfully obvious, but it’s pretty commonly over-looked. Let’s take an estate agent for example, there’s a lot that can be done to change the focus as soon as a visitor lands on your home page. Want more sales? Making the property search a prominent feature will make that clear. Maybe you have no problem selling but you need more stock? Making your valuations a focal point will drive more people there.
Making sure you know what you want to get from your website will help your designer achieve that for you and know exactly where to place focus. This will save you from having a fantastic website that doesn’t do the job you want it to.
It’s important to know exactly what pages you want to go into your website. Do you want a page dedicated to the business and how things began? Do you want something a little more personal like a “meet the team” page? Putting pen to paper and making a full list of every page you want to be included is important. It’ll help you in knowing exactly what content needs to be provided and will make it easier to cut anything unnecessary.
It’s important that every page on your website has a function, whether that be a blog that provides engaging content and helps SEO or a testimonial page that shows new clients how well you perform. You’ve got the perfect site map, not when there’s nothing left to add but when there’s nothing you can take away.
As well as the website being easy to navigate, the text on it should be too. Patience is something that we don’t have a lot of in this day and age. We want everything now and that extends to information about your company. It’s important that no matter how much content you have, it’s easily digestible. This can be achieved in many different ways:
- Sub headings breaking up large blocks of text (like this article)
- Bullet point lists (such as these)
- Cutting out any unnecessary information (like the points in the brackets above)
There’s a lot more to it than these simple points, but they’ll get you on the right track to writing content that people actually want to read.
Provide your brand guidelines
It’s all well and good asking a developer to design you a website, but without predefined brand guidelines it can be hard to get the tone right. While any developer worth their salt will talk over the design with you before-hand, brand guidelines will ensure that your website enforces the same brand ideology as the rest of your business.
It’s important that your brand look its best, so in addition to your guidelines make sure you have high-res versions of your logo and any other brand images ready to go. If you don’t have the high-res version a quick chat with your designer should sort that out.
Have great imagery
A picture says a thousand words. The average adult in England reads at a rate of about 300 words per minute, which means it’ll take 3 minutes and 20 seconds to read a thousand words. When a user lands on a web page they normally make their mind up on if their hanging around in 8 seconds! That’s enough time to read 40 words. If you can’t get imagery for every page make a real effort for the home page, it’s the page the page that needs to grab a user’s attention so make it count!
Moving imagery is even better so don’t be afraid to get fancy and put some video in there!
To make sure your website is always up-to-date you’ll need your property management software. There’s loads to chose from out there but chances are you already have one set up. All you’ll need to do is provide access to your developers and they’ll get everything running automatically, no painstakingly uploading properties over and over.
The way we consume media has changed. Current statistics show that just over 80% of us have smart phones in our pockets and that we use them as our primary means of browsing the web. That means that if your website isn’t compatible you’re missing out on a HUGE chunk of the market.
With the surface of responsive technology making your services available to users on the move is easier than ever. However, one of the things you need to be aware of is whether or not your designer will include responsive design as standard. Many designers will charge you extra for this so it’s important to be aware of exactly what you are getting and that you’ll be ready for any platform.
It’s always good to go into any new project with an idea of how much you’d like to spend and what you can realistically achieve for the price. The more complicated you want your website to be, the more it will cost. Be sure to talk to your developer about your budget and they’ll always be happy to tell you what they can and cannot build for your requirements.
Getting a new website takes a lot more thought than waking up and just deciding you want one. Sure, you could do that, there’s hundreds of template services out there and some of them are even free! As with anything though, you get what you pay for. If you want to strongly represent your brand in a world that’s becoming more and more digital, there’s a lot to think about!
Has this article left you feeling stuck? Or maybe just unsure about what you should take into consideration? Chat to us at Estate Apps and we’ll do what we can to get you heading in the right direction.
This week I returned back to work from my holiday in Kos and was preparing myself for those well-known holiday blues to set in on Sunday evening but something amazing happened, this time they didn’t appear!
This got me thinking, where were they? In my previous jobs (and pre-baby) I used to go on holiday two to three times a year and without fail I would suffer from quite severe holiday blues on my return but not this time, why? And the simple answer is that I have job satisfaction now, do you? A while ago I sat down with my Grandad who we call Grumpy George, he asked his usual questions of how am I and how is work and my usual response was, “It’s fine, who really actually enjoys their job anyway?” His reply always puzzled me until now.
Grumpy George – “I loved my job, I always hated the weekends and couldn’t wait to go back in on a Monday”
I never understood how he could feel like this about working, don’t get me wrong I still enjoy my weekends but I’m starting to see what he meant. Now when I visit and he asks about work I actually bore him with details and stories about my week and I have to say it gives me a nice feeling to be proud and happy to talk about work.
When you look at the facts it’s actually quite scary, some of you will spend more time in work than you do at home, which means you also spend more time with your colleagues than you do with your family and friends. So why don’t you make it essential that you enjoy your time at work?
With my 18 month old son in nursery 5 days a week I did have some feelings of guilt that his nursery teachers were seeing him as much as me and I’m sure some of you may have felt the same. Obviously we tell ourselves that nursery is good for them to learn, play and grow without us and although I believe this to be true it also helps that I am enjoying myself at work when he is enjoying his time too. Evenings and weekends are precious but I am finding myself feeling happier throughout the day which then continues when I get home and any Sunday Sadness has been erased.
Here are some ways that Citrus helps our team to enjoy our work.
- Monday Morning Meeting - Every week we have a conference call where as a team we discuss our weekend and our week ahead. I personally find this friendly, supportive and inspiring. As each meeting closes I find myself excited to get started.
- Freedom – With options of flexible working hours and working from home each team member benefits from this in their own way.
- Incentives – Citrus has joined Perkbox, an employee perks scheme for small businesses that gives us offers and discounts on anything from cinema tickets to holidays.
- Birthday Bonus – We all have an extra holiday each year for our Birthday, a nice touch that we all appreciate.
- Personal Development – We are all encouraged to partake in courses/training that will help our current and future roles within Citrus. Suggestions are welcomed and we’re even looking into a course in the US for next year!
- Relaxed Atmosphere – Together, with the support from Andrea, we have created a casual relaxed atmosphere in our office. No topic is out of bounds as we literally talk about everything, being open and honest has allowed us to have a great working relationship.
Whether you are an employee or employer you can gain job satisfaction and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Remember, you spend too much time working to not enjoy it!