Determining which tasks you can take on yourself and which you need to outsource to professionals is a key decision for business owners. Of course, anything you can do yourself can be a savings, but you also need to consider your expertise as well as impact it will have on the time needed to complete the project.
One of the key tasks that most business owners don’t think about when creating a website is project management. The person who takes on this role will develop a schedule for completing the website. They serve as a liaison between all members of the team, including the business owner or marketing executive, web developers, graphic designers, SEO specialists and content writers. They will also create a site map for the developer and content writers to follow as they work through what is needed to complete the project. We see many projects get delayed because owners get sidetracked with pressing business needs, while their website team waits for copy, photos, etc. Choosing a website template, finding images, and writing copy, can take far longer than you ever imagine.
Whether you are designing an original website, or customizing one of the thousands of templates available online, you may hire a professional website developer to do the work. Open source systems such as Wordpress make it possible for those without coding experience to create their own websites, but be prepared to invest a considerable amount of time and effort to learn how to do it. Skills among website developers also vary. Some are better at coding (the back-end work behind a website) and less adept at design. Others are better at design, but not adept at coding. Once the design is created and/or approved, the web developer will insert the photos and copy into the site, and style it according to the approved design.
If you decide to work with a template, be prepared to spend hours looking for the one that will fit your content as well the look and feel you want for the site. The site you choose should be both mobile and seo-friendly? Does the developer offer support? Can you determine if you can adapt it for your needs? If you are not comfortable in this arena, it is best to work with a professional.
Many a business has completed its website only to find out that the site is not optimized for search engines. That’s because search engine optimization, commonly called SEO, is its own specialty. While the web developer may add titles and metadescriptions to the site, it is not his or her job to create them. Writing the titles and metadescriptions should be based on business objectives, an analysis of key words for search traffic, competitiveness and other factors. An SEO content writer or seo specialist who has done the necessary analysis and consulted with the business owner should provide this information to the web developer.
Once you determine the pages you need, content writers will get to work creating the words for each page. If you want your site to rank in search engines, provide your writer with the keywords you want to rank for based on your research. Provide the writer with an idea of the amount of copy you want on each page, or the writer can write to the design. We base our estimates on 200-400 words per page. Page titles and metadescriptions are also provided for each page. Think about the tone you want for the copy. Should it be funny or serious, formal or casual, enthusiastic or all about the facts? Convey your desires to the writer.
We’ve had several clients come to us frustrated after working with writers who did not understand their business. If you want to avoid spending a lot of time explaining your industry, look for someone with expertise in your field. Writers will benefit from conversations with customers and other members of your team, especially those who interact with customers. Provide them with access to these key resources as well as any other documents from your company such as proposals, brochures, videos, sale presentations or marketing material.
Do you have a logo and other branding elements already established or you looking to create something new? When you create a website it is a good time to decide if your existing logo could use some revamping. A graphic designer can help ensure that your branding is carried through across all media, including the website. They can also have a good eye for selecting images that will be used throughout the site.
Images are one of the most important elements of a website design. Nothing will send potential buyers off your page faster than unprofessional photos. Hiring a professional photographer is the best way to get the image you want and the quality needed. While stock images offer an economical alternative, the photos will not be unique to your business, and your site can suffer from a generic look. There also may be limitations on their usage. Stock photos are not a good option to represent work, as you might oversell a potential client. As you prepare a list of pages for the site, make a list of photography needs for each page and how you will source them. Allow your photographer to review website design so he can envision his work in place and ask questions.
With a better understanding of everything that needs to be done, you can assess the best way to get the job done.