The Four Elements of the Hosting Environment
Planning or strategising is a vital ongoing activity for any business to thrive. We’d be willing to bet your business started because of some type of initial plan or strategy. Every time you have a staff or board meeting, you discuss existing plans and roll out new ones. We’d even wager that you start your workday with some sort of plan.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much of this planning culture when it comes to launching websites. This may be due to day-to-day operational demands, or simply because the time, skill, energy and expertise that goes into building even the smallest website is grossly underestimated.
Planning for your website (a powerful marketing tool) is just as important as planning for anything else within your business.
If I had six hours to chop down a tree,
I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.
- Abraham Lincoln
It may seem counterintuitive to budget for planning and then set aside time to formulate that plan, but website projects are notorious for going over budget or launching much later than initially required.
Scope creep is the main ingredient for the nightmares that haunt all website designers (and client budgets).
The mutually beneficial answer to building and launching an effective website on budget and on time is the website strategy or planning process.
A common misconception leading to a disappointing website is the belief that website design is only graphical.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. You have to begin with the end in mind by:
Deciding on the main goals of your website with the customer (your defined target market) and your main business goals constantly in mind. Without a map, the navigation can become tricky and confusing. The website plan is your map for the journey to launch a fully functional website without unnecessary struggles (or changes in direction).
Website content includes any creative element, such as text, applications, plugins, images, audio, video, etc. For your content to be professional, it needs to be done professionally.
This could involve creating on-brand and correctly sized graphics by a graphic designer, including high-quality photos or video by a professional photographer/videographer, or sourcing brand-specific stock imagery.
Website copy attracts the search engines that drive traffic to your site. It is also what converts a prospect into a customer.
Knowing about and planning for the type and amount of copy and content before designing your website plays a significant role in determining the layout and amount of pages for your website, which in turn helps to avoid the scope creep mentioned earlier (i.e. to formulate an accurate quote and keeping within the budget).
There is, for example, a significant time investment difference between sizing, editing and uploading 10 photos to a project gallery, versus doing the same for 100 photographs; or writing copy for 2 web pages, versus writing 20 web pages.
If you were to describe your mother to 10 artists (using just words), you can be pretty sure that you will receive 10 different commissioned pieces of art.
It will be your mother, but drawn or painted in 10 completely different ways.
Websites work in the same way. To accurately determine your design and style preferences requires an in-depth discussion about your vision and what you like and dislike.
Your website journey is a process that happens in stages. That's why we offer a phased solution to stimulate growth. Your desired destination might be on the horizon, but the road there is not mapped yet.
We guide our clients through a strategic pathfinding journey that includes the branding, strategy, development and maintenance of their websites.