Whether you’re trying to create and design a website from scratch, or improve an existing site that seriously under-performs, what you need is a plan.
We’re not talking about some half-baked notion that you’d like to create an all-singing, all-dancing site that rocks the world, but a seriously considered, crafted strategy that sets out a timeline for what you’d ideally like to achieve and how you plan to do it. You might think that adopting such a regimented approach will inevitably compromise all creativity and spontaneity, but you’d be wrong. All the little tweaks and clever ideas can always be incorporated afterwards. All the very best ideas and designs are underpinned by comprehensive research and planning. Website design and creation is no different: if you put the work in before hand, you’re far more likely to create a successful website.
So how do you decide what to do? What makes one man’s planning superior to another’s? Well, it’s actually quite simple really: you don’t need to have a brain the size of Einstein’s. All any website designer needs to do, is follow 4 simple rules: establish what the niche market is, develop a business plan, come up with an easy to remember domain name and find the perfect web host for the site.
Finding a niche in the market
Unless you’re company is awash with spare cash, there’s little point entering a market that is already saturated. I know that sounds obvious, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to stop people doing it. If an established company has already cornered the market for a particular product or service, you’d be wasting your time trying to compete unless you can offer something equally valuable but radically different.
If your line of business is already well catered for, then you’ll need to focus on a specific niche sector within the general market. Specialisation is the key to a successful business. Of course identifying this ‘niche’ is only the start: there also needs to be a demand for what you’re offering. It’s all well and good publicising a website that offers a highly specialised service repairing and restoring antique cameras, but if the rest of the world has switched to digital photography, you won’t get much online trade. Websites will only be successful if they offer a service that’s in demand.
Produce and develop your business plan
All successful businesses have plans: they know where they’re going, and crucially, they know how they’re going to get there. Websites are no different. If you only have a rough or vague idea of what you want to achieve, then you’ll probably come a cropper somewhere down the line. The chances are it will be sooner, rather than later. If your business is struggling to develop its plan, then there are lots of online resources that can help and provide you with a wealth of information.
Choosing a domain name
You may wonder why this is important. Well, domain names are essentially your business’s first point of contact with your potential customers. They have the power to either make or break a business. It’s imperative, therefore, that your domain name performs to the best of its capabilities and adds value to your business.
Domain names need to be:
- Short and sweet, and unique if possible.
- Describe what your business or website does if possible.
- Be easy to pronounce and interpret.
- Be memorable – this is undoubtedly the most important point of them all.
Choosing a high quality web hosting service
It’s a sad but true fact of life that you generally only get what you pay for. Well, it’s the same with web hosts. If you’re really serious about your website and business, then there’s really no substitute for using a dedicated web server. Yes, it will be more costly than a shared server, but you will get better value for your money. Many shared web servers offer a relatively poor service: obviously there are exceptions, but by and large they tend not to deliver.