#website

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What to prepare for with a new website

What to think about

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.

Site Map

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.

What to think about

Your content

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!

Property Feed

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.

Mobile Strategy

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.

Budget

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.

In conclusion

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!

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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.

 

My Biggest Frustration

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Contact Details

If you have a business website or an online store, I expect that you want clients, but how easy are you making it for them to contact you?  One of my biggest frustrations is contact details, let me explain.  We come in contact with a multitude of businesses every week of all sizes I bet you do too!  But I frequently find that trying to contact these businesses is often not that easy.  You see many of the websites I go on, I play the game of – hunt the contact details.  Although this may sound entertaining, I can assure you that it looses its fun after about 5 minutes.  Now I am wanting to contact them on a professional level, but what if I was a client?  Would I stay and patiently search for your details?  Or go and find another company with a similar service or product?

Visitors to your website have made the first move but it’s down to you to invite them to connect with you, after all every visitor is a potential client.  The importance of contact details is often overlooked but did you know that a “contact us” page is the second most important page on your company’s website?  Here’s why.

  • Listing your full contact details including your postal address and email address shows each visitor that you are trustworthy and adds legitimacy to your business.
  • Visitors are unlikely to search for these details, if you choose to leave out this link on your main page they may choose to leave your site altogether.
  • Including different options of how a visitor can contact you gives them no excuse not to get in touch via a platform that they are happy with i.e. Telephone, Email, Postal or even Web Chat.
  • With an increase in smartphones, users are able to save your number from your website to store in their contacts, making it easier to reach you when needed.

Being transparent and open to your customers seems such simple advice yet being accessible to each visitor can really make a difference to your business.

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Social Media Links

Following from my previous rant I can’t ignore the annoyance of hidden social media links on many websites.  Believe it or not I have even come across websites that have no links at all, does this mean they have no social media channels?  Who knows!  If you have experimented with social media for your brand you’ll know the hard work that it takes to develop a successful social media presence, so why hide these links and buttons where no one can see them?  However well-known your brand is it’s important to showcase your social media profiles on your website.  We recommend to our clients that they should display their social media profiles and a link to their blog on the front page of their site.  After-all social media accounts are free so why wouldn’t you use them to your full advantage for your business?

When you are searching for the social media links where do you look first?  If your answer is the top right of the page then you are part of the majority of people who took part in the latest eye-tracking studies.  Heat maps show that most visitors’ eyes move to the upper right corner more than other part of a webpage, so use this space to show your social presence and even your phone number.  Here are a few other pointers to consider when it comes to promoting your social media pages.

  • Social media sharing buttons will lead your visitors to promote content from your website onto their personal profiles.
  • Always place your links somewhere towards the top half of the page, or “above the fold”, meaning the part of the page a visitor can see without having to scroll down.
  • Unnecessarily large buttons will clutter up your webpages whilst taking away from the main content.

Through buttons, links and content invite your visitors to share, follow and like your business and be sure to engage with as many people as possible to further promote your brand.

Take a few minutes today to look at your website through the eyes of a customer.  Have you made their experience stress free?  These small additions and adjustments might just be what your website has been missing.

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