10 Things Before Building a Website

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					   1. Understand what you want. Too many businesses really don't know
what they want from their website . Have you researched who your online
customers are? Do you know what keywords they search for? Do you know
what sites they visit? Do you know why they are looking for your site? If
you don't, they you don't know what you want. You want happy customers.
That's what you want (and hopefully more income as a result).
   2. It costs more and takes longer than you think. I can't count the
number of times I've been asked how long a website takes, but every time
they are shocked at the average development time. However, nearly every
time we have "wait time" with a website, it has been caused by the
clients' inaction (not sending in copy, not sending pictures, not signing
off on part of the project, etc.) You can eliminate most of the wait time
by having content, pictures, etc. ready for your developer to dump into
the design.
   3. A web site has several pieces; don't cut corners. You should keep
in mind the following aspects: Design - Does it look and act like my
client expects?, Content - Does the site provide the information my
clients are looking for?, SEO - Will clients be able to find my site once
we make it live?, Future Additions - Have I adequately planned ahead so
that I don't have to waste time interfacing the new features with
existing ones.
   4. Balance glitz and guts. A good website mainly provides the
information that people are looking for and does it in a pleasing way,
but content wins out every time .
   5. If you build it, they won't necessarily come. If you don't have a
unique value proposition you will not get any sales except from nice old
Grandma Elna who bought something just to be nice. Something about your
business must attract the more savvy online customers of today.
   6. Avoid bit decay; the site needs maintenance. Technology is ever
changing and hopefully your business is keeping up. You need a plan to
update, maintain, and improve your website on a monthly, if not weekly
basis. Ask yourself, "How is my target audience changing, and how can I
quickly adapt to their needs?"
   7. Treat the web team as professionals. You and the designer both have
specific roles you must fill for your website to succeed.
   8. Most people in the web industry are clueless. Just because your
daughter's friend's brother built a website when he was in 4th grade,
that does not qualify him as a web designer. Just because your daughter's
friend's brother is a graphic designer, that does not qualify him as a
web designer. Just because your daughter's friend's brother owns a
pirated version of Frontpage, that does not qualify him as a web
   9. You get what you pay for. I think we covered your daughter's
friend's brother well enough above.
  10. Don't start your project by buying a CMS. A content management
system is not the way to start. Ask your web designer, they probably have
a better and more customized answer for your needs.

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