painting "Apple Rain" by Jana Felber
startups

Where to start when building a website

First things first

When I begin working with my clients, the first thing I do is reviewing their website; the second will be typing the list of recommendations, basically of what they have to change there. I believe that the website is the online face of your business, which is internationally visible if well groomed. I’ve never seen a perfect face of this kind and it’s normal. What, in my opinion, is abnormal is when asked, “what is your business message” (as I can’t find it on the website), to answer “Well, isn’t it why you’re helping us with our marketing strategy?”
But why the website is ready before the strategy?

Are you a fool with a plan or a genius without one?

You might get confused what it has to do with the blog post name which is more related to how to make/build a website?
I’m just wondering why many of my customers present me their websites saying something like “now Jana, we are expecting you to come up with a good strategy”. Then we define the key business message, we have to redesign the logo and even change the company name throughout the whole website….
If you’re trying to do it yourself it costs you time, if you hire a designer – money, if you didn’t plan it well – you’re going to lose both. Plan everything thoroughly and you don’t need to redo all the stuff all over again.

Business strategy first, website…next?

That is how I see the whole thing from the perspective of many startups: “I’ve got a great business idea and I have to start off before someone else acted faster than me”. Customers ask developers to build their websites as soon as possible like they need to have them already tomorrow.
Type this query into Google toolbar: “where to start when building a website” and you will get very “clever” recommendations like “before you start worrying about colour schemes and domain names, you’ve got to decide what platform you’re going to build your website with.”

Here is a type of startup I will never understand: the one saving money on paying experts and trying to do almost everything on its own. Nascent entrepreneurs learn how to work with WordPress using probably some kind of “how to guide”. And here is an example of such “how to” education: http://company name.com/sample-post1/.

Another one came up with the domain consisting of 25 characters. I told him that he could purchase an additional domain, and I suggested a shorter one that clearly indicates what his company does. He was interested how fast he can get a return on this investment. Why didn’t he think of this before he has chosen the first domain? Why didn’t he hire an expert to help him to get started?

So if you can write a good content – write it, if you’re a web designer – please, do it yourself, if you are a professional marketer you probably won’t need to hire somebody. But don’t do anything if you can do it good enough.

The next important point is about starting off only by hiring a web designer. Not good. Hire a marketer simultaneously and let them work as a team. A trivial example: a designer might help you to choose the prefect colour combination but the marketer will know if this combination will be good for your particular business.

As long as my customers are continuing building their websites before they’ve planned their business thoroughly, I have an additional work: to review the website of every single company starting to work with me.

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