22 Oct What should I consider before starting up a website?
Keep it simple. One of the main mistakes people still make when planning their website is to dress to impress, to wow people into sitting up and taking notice. This is almost always a mistake. Your site is not there to say ‘Hey, look at me!’ but ‘How can I help?’ If people want to be entertained, they can turn on the tele. If they’ve got a sick toddler, they want good information quickly – even if that information is just ‘Where can I find a chemist at three o’clock in the morning?’
You are effectively in the information business. Your site should be information led, not technology led. Of course, at the end of the information process, you do need people to buy something, but, in our experience, people will almost certainly buy if they believe they have been given the information they need.
When talking to a web designer, by wary of anyone trying to sell you fancy bells and whistles, flash animations and gimmicks. Your site, like your shop, needs to be clearly labeled and easy to move around in. We often have to talk clients out of building more glamorous sites, even if we receive lower fees in the process. These sites can seem exciting to begin with, but people soon get bored and even irritated by these sites if they have to keep returning to them and have to keep waiting while pretty graphic features need to load. Let’s face it, we all want people to keep returning to our website. Anything that might put them off has to be avoided.
Be clear what you want out of your site. Ask yourself what you want people to do while they are there. Do you want them to buy things? Do you want to encourage them to pop into your shop more often? Do you want to make sure they think of you the next time they need advice? Once you are sure of your objectives, a good web designer will be able to give you a clear understanding of the time and cost to build what you need.