When it comes to business website development, you might have noticed there’s a wealth of guidance to be found online, but much of it comes in the guise of concise, step-by-step walkthroughs of the website development process.
If you’re thinking about creating a website for your business, these guides don’t really help you appreciate just how much work is involved. The reality is that creating a great business website is labour-intensive, even if you’re well-versed in the art of website-building.
The First Step: In Detail
For example, take the very first step in the process; gathering the information you need to create website content. This in itself can be an exhaustive and detailed task and of course, the bigger the website, the more information you’ll need to gather—and this is before you even begin writing the content itself.
But what information exactly, should you gather? You’ll find the answers below in our 12-point information gathering checklist for your new business website.
You don’t have to collect all the information we recommend here, but more content is typically better than less, so if you do cover off all the points, you can be sure that at the end of your development project, you’ll be launching a comprehensive and informative business website—one that will help you market your business successfully.
Check Them as You Get Them: 12 Pieces of Information for Your Business Website Content
#1: What is the primary goal of your business website? Determine this and write it down.
#2: Identify your intended website audience; then create some personas to represent your ideal customers.
#3: What will your website provide for your visitors? Will it have products or services for sale, or will it just provide information? Determine the answers and write them down.
#4: Create the story of your company. Provide information about how it was conceived, how it has evolved, and what makes it different to the competition.
#5: Gather some testimonials from past or current customers to publish on your business website.
#6: Gather biographies and photographs of the key people in your company for a “Meet the Team” page.
#7: Collate any articles, reviews, press releases, videos, and other online content which has been published about your company. You can then link to these information sources from your website.
#8: Write some articles about the industry in which your company is engaged. Once published, these pieces will begin to establish your business website as an “authority site” and encourage visitors who might not be ready to buy, but are seeking information.
#9: If your company has been pursuing any environmental initiatives, create some written content to document the green journey and highlight your successes.
#10: Create product descriptions if applicable, even if you will not be selling directly from your business website. Make each description unique and include photographs taken with a decent digital camera (not a cell phone camera).
#11: Collate a list of links to online sources relevant to your company’s products or services. Use these to create a Links page, which visitors to your site will find useful. This gives people another reason to visit and spend time on your business website.
#12: Finally, digitize any printed information you have about your company and its products/services, especially white papers, brochures, and articles published in printed media. You will be able to publish some of these directly on your website pages, and offer others for download, perhaps in return for visitors providing you with their email addresses.
As you can see, there is quite a lot involved in the information-gathering phase alone. That’s why for some small-business owners, even those with web-development experience, the idea of a self-built website can become less than appealing.
If you’re not enamoured with the idea of creating a business website yourself, you could always outsource your development project to a specialist service provider. There is certainly no shortage of web development companies offering their services at a range of prices, and with different levels of professionalism.
Have You Considered Offshore Business Website Development?
One solution could be to outsource your website build to an offshore provider operating from a country such as the Philippines. Here you will find professional development teams with a very high standard of expertise, but who will develop your site for much less cost than a local provider. This is really a win-win scenario, since you will not suffer any loss of quality as a result of lower prices.
Alternatively, if you still want to control the bulk of your project, you might choose to outsource some elements of it to save time and potentially, money too.
For instance, a virtual assistant could easily gather and collate much of the information you need for website content, with the exception perhaps of printed media. If you find a virtual assistant with writing skills, you could even outsource the writing of articles and blog posts.
Whether you hire somebody to help you, use in-house resources, or take a self-build approach to your business website though, pay plenty of attention to gathering content that will engage visitors and keep them on your pages. It can be a painstaking task, but one that will pay off in spades once your site goes live.