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Creating a new website or app is a big job. Many people in your organisation will need to be involved, from IT to sales, to marketing and more. It can be overwhelming and frustrating if you don’t plan and budget for a project like this properly. At WECREATE we know from experience what makes for a smooth process and successful result when it comes to web and app design projects. To minimize any stumbling blocks that cause delay and money, we have listed ten essential topics you should work out and budget for before embarking on such a project.

1. Purpose

Let’s start at the beginning, the reason you need a new website. Describe your objectives clearly as well as the purpose your website will serve. The answers to these questions give WECREATE the basis on which all the other processes involved in creating a website are based. The best way to define your website’s purpose it to hold a questionnaire or team meeting with everyone involved in the project. Make sure the following topics are covered in defining the purpose of your website:

– Describe the users of your website. Personify them and identify what matters to them, why are they visiting your website?
– What are your main competitors doing online? What lessons can you take from their websites, what works and what doesn’t in your view?
– What do you need your website to do for you? What does your customer need from your website?
– How will you manage the content on your website? Do you need your agency to manage it for you or can you do it in-house?
– Describe what you consider a success when it comes to the outcome of this project

2. Who decides what

Who will be responsible for which part of the website’s development in your organisation? Decisions made early on in the project such as security, software and hosting should lie with IT. Marketing should focus on design, usability, communication and content. Sometimes interests will clash or overlap so think about who makes the ultimate decision should this occur.

3. Review your branding

Your website is one of the, if not the most important brand communication channel you have. So when you plan to create a new website, take the opportunity to review your brand strategy at the same time. How does your brand present itself and does it (still) support your brand story? Perhaps your story has changed over the years and needs to be updated. If this is the case, now is the time to grab the opportunity. WECREATE can help you to create a strong and effective brand story based on your business goals, a story that differentiates you from all your competitors and engages with your target audience in a sustainable way.

Every brand story is supported by a visual identity and whether you merely make adjustments or change your brand story completely, do be mindful that any changes need to be followed through in all channels of communication, not just on your digital website.

4. Make a content sitemap

Once it is clear what you want your website to do, you can start to determine the content structure (also called site map) of your website. This site map is highly connected to the PURPOSE of the website we discussed earlier and needs to be made with your visitor in mind. Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes, how and where does he/she want to find information and in which sequence? Think of web pages you may want to add at a later stage too so that the structure of the website can allow for this.

5. Creating content

A big part of building a new website consists of creating content. Good content is integral to the success of your site but the time and effort that needs to go into creating it is very often underestimated. This part of your website project can be overwhelming. WECREATE has access to a host of professional content creators who can support where needed.

Copy
Find your brand’s voice and style before anyone starts writing copy. Is your brand energetic and strong or calm and nurturing? Perhaps it’s encouraging or very businesslike – whatever it is, pin it down and keep in mind the target group you are speaking to. Copy can be written so much more effectively once the right voice has been defined.

Photography
Just like your copy, the visual elements on your website need to fit your brand identity. Try to stay away from bad quality images or too many stock images and create your own authentic photographs to support your unique story. Professional commercial photographers can help you achieve the right style.

Video
videos can captivate your audience like nothing else (if done in the right way). You can use video content on your website to give your visitor a virtual tour of your premises or production process, to explain how your service or product works or to educate on topics linked to your industry. Decide if video content is something that could be effective in clarifying your visitor’s questions.

6. Design

WECREATE always starts the design process with building a wireframe that is based on your content site map. The wireframe will show you how your new website will work and forms the basis of the UX (User Experience) and UI (User interface). The UX design shows you how your website will work, it visualizes the layout and navigation of your content site map. The UI design focuses on enhancing the information hierarchy, branding and visual identity the visitor sees and experiences on-screen. UX and UI are much used terms in creating a website. WECREATE has dedicated an entire blogpost to this topic, which you can read here.

Once the wireframe is approved, the visual design phase can begin.

7. Software

A website is developed using opensource software (Like Joomla or WordPress) or proprietary software (you own it). It is wise not to make premature assumptions of what you think is the best solution. WECREATE knows all the ins and outs of both options and can help you make the best choice for your needs and budget.

Open source
Benefits:
– Software is free
– Completely customizable
– Supported by w community of developers

Downsides:
– Targeted by hackers
– Risk that the open source project is abandoned
– Good quality open source developers are scarce

Proprietary software
Benefits:
– Built for your specific needs
– Personalized support
– Software is owned by you

Downsides:
– Can be a lot more expensive than open source software
– You are completely dependent on your software developer
– Usually involves contracts

8. Analytics

To track if your website meets the goals you have set out for it, it serves to implement a marketing analytics dashboard. Google Analytics is free and provides you with a lot of data. This system is strong in conversion funnel reporting for e-commerce sites but less so if you want to track submissions and downloads on your website. It is possible to use Google Analytics with other tools to create a custom dashboard that reports on all the data you need. Look into what options are available that meet your needs and find out what costs are involved.

9. Hosting and support

Once your website is up and running it will need to be kept up to date and you will need to take into account certain ongoing costs for hosting, security and other recurring site fees.
For anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to manage this in-house, WECREATE offers hosting services and server management with an easy to use control panel. Our servers are located in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Belgium and the US with a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%. In simple terms, we can manage everything to make sure your website continues to work smoothly.

10. Keep it fresh

Last but not least, keep your new website fresh. Make sure you draw in visitors with up-to-date content. Post regular blogs about topics related to your industry for example and update your portfolio to show visitors what you have been up to, communicate promotions and special deals etc. Static websites don’t do well in search machines so there are several reasons why you need to keep your content as fresh as possible!

We hope these tips are useful in planning and budgeting your website project. We are always here to give more in-depth advice on each of the topics discussed above. Please call or send us an e-mail to find out what we can do for you.

Call us for more advice on improving your website on +852 2555 7220 .

arthur

About arthur

Arthur is the motive behind advertising agency WECREATE. Founder, and since 2004 responsible for strategy, concept and design in the role of Creative Director.