1. Less Sizzle. More Steak. Unless your website is specifically designed to entertain people (e.g. you are in the movie industry), the website should contain useful content that provides… information. Save your money. Do not build your website in Flash. A small Flash element here are there, ok, but do NOT build the website primarily in Flash.
2. Information First. Countless websites I have visited or been asked to build over the years put the information as a last priority. The focus is always on pretty graphics and presentation. Text is then “thrown together” as a kind of after-thought and then superimposed on the graphic design. What’s up with that? Write the written content first.
3. Think Search Engine Optimization Upfront. Once your website goes live, you want people to find it, right? So, don’t make the search engine optimization an afterthought. If your webmaster is not an SEO expert, then make sure you hire an expert to work with your webmaster as an advisor so that the website code is done properly in the beginning.
4. Hire An Expert Designer. If I had a dollar for every website design my company has done that was actually a re-design of someone else’s failed attempt… Hey, wait a minute, I DO have a dollar (or more) for all of those situations! Unfortunately, the companies who paid me those dollars also paid an amateur to try first before they came to our company. Save your money and your frustration and get your website designed and launched fast and right the first time.
5. Forget Perfection – Launch The Website Already. Too many folks have a vision for their website that drags the project on forever. Meanwhile, they are squandering valuable time and losing valuable business by having the old 1996 website live. Or, worse, they have the dreaded “under construction” notice lingering forever. You can always launch with 10 menu items instead of 20, then add the desired additional sections after. No one will know your website is incomplete. You have simply phased the launch. This works. It also provides an opportunity to test-drive the basic design.
6. Have A Plan To Keep It Current. Make sure you have a plan for when updates and upgrades will be done. Diarize these dates and make sure that your plan is executed. A website that does not stay current will lose coveted repeat visitors in a big way. And, while keeping things current, make sure you or your developer have a regular backup plan of your site, off-site.
7. Host The Website Professionally. Do NOT scrimp on the hosting service for your new website. What good is it to spend all that development money only to have your website’s low performance, security and reliability constantly causing you grief. Cloud-computing provides speed, reliability and ease of management. Source a company who understands how to configure your cloud hosting.
8. Measure Everything. There are some great free tools and some even better paid tools for tracking website traffic, leads, conversions (i.e. sales), traffic origins, user activity, bailout-pages, and much more. What gets measured gets managed. You measure your sales and revenues and cashflow, right? Well, your website should be integral to your business… and as such, should be measured accordingly. Google Analytics is the gold standard for measuring traffic, visitor origins, keywords used to find your site and more.
9. Test Your Website. Have a company experienced in conducting thorough reviews report on your website structure while you still have time to hold any errors up to your designer to have them correct things before they get their final paycheck from you.
10. Launch and Promote on Social Media. Don’t wait for Google to find your website and maybe list in you on the first page of search results. Hone in on the very specific keywords that you want people to find you by and simply set a budget in Google Adwords to buy the clicks. If you do it correctly, it will not cost a fortune and your target market will find you immediately. Ditto for publishing to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Announce your site and link it to your profile.