You should never build a website on a whim, or without any kind of business or strategic plan behind it. Doing so would be a recipe for disaster, as the old saying rightly goes, “fail to plan, plan to fail.” Having a website needs to be a well thought out way of driving your firm’s sales and marketing forward, not just having one because all the other firms in Singapore in your specialist industry or sector already have one.
Planning the layout, feel, theme and content of any potential website before it is built is going to save you valuable time as well as dollars. Going to a website builder with no idea of what is going to be in your website waste their time as much as it waste yours. It is better to have ideas of what you want the site to look like so that the builder has something to go with. It should also reduce the risk of miscommunication.
This guide is intended to assist both website builders and those firms or employees that require a website to be built. The point is to simplify the process to make it easier for businesses in Singapore to plan their new websites.
If you do not have a website up and running yet we recommend that you sign up with a web hosting services to stage and finally host their website.
Set out the objectives and goals of your website
It makes a lot of sense for you to set out the main objectives of your potential website before you start the process. If the main aim is to be informative about issues then a relatively simple build will be sufficient. Should you run a business that only intends to sell in the local Singapore market then payment methods will be required. However if planning to sell globally then more payment options and currency conversion options are needed.
Then you will need to measure how well you website is performing in terms of people signing up to newsletters, royalty schemes, or the total number of sales. An analytics tool is really useful for providing this kind of information, sign up to one such as Google Analytics.
Set yourself a budget
It is best to have a separate budget set aside for the setting up and the maintaining of your website. With plenty of firms and individual consultants to potentially hire you should consider more than just who offers the lowest price when picking your website builder. This part is when the previous planning comes in handy, as you can pick the firm or consultant most likely to be able to provide you with everything you have requested them to do.
If you are based in Singapore it is worth worth looking into the services provided by MediaOne.
Also it is highly recommended to have a service, which uses the WordPress platform.
Assign your roles
Depending upon the size of your organization and the importance it attaches to it’s website it is worth assigning roles to people within it.
- Firm stakeholders (the owner, managing directors etc).
- The web developer / designer.
- Content writer or writers with an editor.
- A HTML / CSS programmer / professional.
- The web developer or builder.
Once the team is assembled it needs all of its members to keep informed of all developments and to make sure management is fully aware of anything that needs changing.
Draw up a content strategy
Your content is everything that you put onto your website for the benefit of everyone who visits it. Make sure that all the content is achieving something, if it is serving no purpose then either alter it or remove it completely. Content includes the following :
- Relevant blog posts.
- Documents in word or PDF format.
- Short films or videos.
- pictures / photos in a gallery.
- Embedded social media like Twitter and Facebook are regularly updated.
The content needs to look professional besides being update upon a frequent basis, and if you promise new content at set times you will need to sure that happens. Being in a professional content writer of needs be to ensure your content is always fresh and relevant for your visitors.
Give your website a structure
The majority of websites have similar structures with an about as well as a contact page plus pages to sell your goods. The structure should be geared to making the maximum number of people in Singapore to view it.
Build up a mock site
It is a good idea to have a mock up of your pages so that people can have an idea of what the first draft looks like. Known as wireframe it gives a working guide to how you want the final pages to look. The mock site is just to give a gist of what you would like the site to feature and how it will appear when completed.
There is no need to worry if you do not have a specific programme to do the mock up with as pen and paper will do the job just as good, Now you will just need to send this off to a designer, or if you have enough skills do it yourself.
Begin the design work
Once the mock up stage is finished it is then time to begin the design process. By this stage the designer will know everything that is required for inclusion into the website design. A good design needs to be user friendly as well as pleasing to the eye.
The contents of your website will not be noticed if it looks wrong or people are unable to navigate around it freely. Here are some tips to assist you:
- Keep the fonts a size and a colour that allows the text to be read comfortably, the background and text need to contrast.
- Ensure that the navigation is simple to find and easy enough to use.
- Allow your site to fit the screens of the devices people use to ensure it looks right on mobiles, tablets and laptops.
- Watch out that there are not too many features so that your site loads quickly.
- Put your firm logo and tag line where your visitors cannot miss it.
- Ensure that your content is clear, continuous, and consistent.
- Keep your style sheet and functions apart in case things have to be altered.
- Ensure that there is spare capacity in your website so that content can be expanding without harming performance.
Test that it works
Even though you have set everything out carefully the site still needs testing. Check that it works properly in different formats and differing machines with no apparent drops in quality or performance. These tests allow you to iron out any last minute problems so that site visitors will gain a good impression of your firm.
Maintain the website
It is no good if your website looks it’s best when it is new and then fades away. New websites are added frequently so you need to keep yours fresh looking and renew features as often as possible. Content needs to be updated and site security reviewed regularly.
Gain feedback from visitors and information from analytics to make sure your site stays relevant to your visitors, and make sure they keep coming back for more.