How to lay the foundations for a great website
Think of your website as a shop window, an online space where you house your brand, product or service. As is the case with bricks and mortar spaces, websites can vary from state-of-the-art to badly built and poorly designed.
It’s safe to say that more companies have a URL than an IRL office space – whether you’re building or buying a website for your business, the options available really can be overwhelming. With design, build, strategy and maintenance, the cost of a good website can soon add up. You may be reluctant to spend the money upfront but having a bad website could be much more costly, and detrimental to your business in the long-term.
Whatever your budget, timeframe, or requirements, here are 4 things that really must be considered to lay a solid, strategic foundation before the creative elements are brought in.
Information Architecture (IA)
This is the forethought of laying out where the pages and sub-pages are going to be, as well as how the key content blocks will form the structure of the website. This will allow a designer to create the most important part of the website: the navigation. If your customer can’t easily navigate your site, to quickly find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave.
From an SEO perspective, the IA is the start of formulating what the key content pages will be based on the structure of their slug (URL).
IA also initiates conversation about what is most important to a client and how much prominence each page or section must have.
User Experience (UX)
What is important to include? And what content needs to stand out? UX focuses on the layout of content across each page. This can change on a page-by-page basis, but, usually, templates are created so that a consistent/similar structure is used throughout the website.
The content is based on how users browse the internet, how we see they have browsed your site in the past, as well as deciding what information we want them to digest, and in which order.
Before we start designing or developing, it’s imperative to have a clear understanding of the role of each page. What is its purpose? What do we need to achieve from that page? How will success be measured, and what needs to be tracked to give accurate measurements?
If the page doesn’t have a clear purpose or strategy, it isn’t adding value to your site, and it probably isn’t needed.
Redirect strategy only applies when we are building a website to replace an existing one. We need to find the URL of all the pages that currently exist on the website, then create a document that points them to the new site, rather the correct page on the new website.
When a page has been found in Google, it starts earning “authority”. If you don’t redirect that page when a new website is created, all of the existing authority is lost. This can be a major issue, especially if it is a commonly browsed topic.
Looking to build, rebuild, or redesign a website for your brand? Contact us and let us know what you need.