Company websites have become the most essential component of any successful business. You may have a fabulous product or service but without a shop window to promote what you are offering, will be a real challenge. Selling your product or services online is arguably the most economical way of creating a global sales market without huge capital expenditure.
However, there are millions of websites and many could be offering products or services similar to yours, so how do you stand out in this virtual crowd? How can you build a Great Website? How long does it take for your website to be rated as superior in the eyes of the search engines?
What Are the Attributes of a Great Website?
Why does the browsing public prefer some websites to others? What are those special features that are found appealing to a cross-section of people? The answers to these questions may appear very simple. It is more like the book “In Search of Excellence” where the authors were researching the characteristics that made some organisations great. They stumbled upon eight such features that were common to them, though they were completely unrelated businesses. The same theory applies here as well. Irrespective of the business you are running, your business website must conform to a few basic tenets. These are:
- Simple but impressive design.
- Contents placed in an organised manner.
- Ease of navigation through the various pages.
- The content has to be original.
- All features should be available.
- A blemish-free coding.
- Pleasant and comfortable to read (font, layout, colour choices, graphics).
- Secure to browse.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Now, to delve a little more on some of these points:
This is a no-brainer. You must have your website designed by an agency with a proven track record of excellence and service. Designing a website not only involves the application of the creative mind but also producing something which is aesthetically pleasing and offers a great user experience. Important elements to consider would be; colour, fonts, spacing, margins, size of letters, headings and button styles, and so on. All these have to run uniformly throughout the website. The website has to be presented seamlessly across all platforms from PCs and desktops to tablets and mobiles.
Organised Way of Presenting the Content
A great website will have a neatly laid architecture as far as the contents are concerned. The website designer has to become the customer and think from that perspective. What would you like to see on the Home Page, what should follow that in a sequence? The customer will take less than a second to quit your website and search for something better if he or she is not impressed with the way your site is laid out.
Ease of Navigation
This is a must! You would want the website to be simple and intuitive to navigate. As a rule of thumb, no major landing page should be more than a click away. Offer too many obstacles to users finding what they are looking for and they will lose patience and click away.
Visitors to your website will tend to stay longer if they find the site has something new or original to offer. If the pages have the information they can see anywhere, there won’t be the incentive to stay on and gather more details. Illustrations can be of help. Include a Blog section that has contributions from experts in the field of business you operate. When customers learn something new or a fresh perspective is introduced, they take a liking to your website and you can hope for repeat visits.
This is more of a technical issue. It can have implications for search engine results. Besides, coding becomes important for the pages of your website to open correctly across all browsers. Any invalid code can lead to your website being rendered slow on certain browsers. You must insist on clean coding to avoid any hassles later.
Internet security has moved to the top spot in the minds of the users since there have been many instances of breach of privacy and data protection. If your website is gathering the personal information of the visitors to the site, you will have to give them a sense of confidence that the information stays safe and will not be shared with any third parties. With the increase in vulnerabilities and website security breaches, it is important that your WordPress site is correctly maintained. Our 24/7 Monitoring Service provides that total peace of mind.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is the tool to drive more traffic to your website. The conventional wisdom that if more customers walk in the possibility of increasing the business increases applies to the online business as well. Proper SEO strategies, if implemented, will make sure your website ranks better on the search engine results. If you have engaged the best website developer, they should be able to offer their services in this area as well. SEO best practices are the foundations of every website we build. While a new site will never have the authority of established sites it is important to adopt a regular strategic approach to improve your site’s visibility.
A Great Website Is, In Reality, A Package, a sum of all parts, and cannot be seen in isolation keeping one or two elements in focus.
How Long Does It Take to Build a Great Website?
This is an important question! It is quite relevant too since it does take considerable time before you can claim to have a great website. Even if it is a small simple site, it takes weeks to have it functional. A full-fledged or full-suite website could take even up to 4 months before it becomes a stable website capable of delivering on what you intended it to. There is a process involved in building a good website and the best developers will want to follow that methodically and not cut corners.
The Key Milestones in the Website Building Process
You may have to kickstart the process by first doing a diligent search for the right agency to handle the website building work. The agency must have all it takes to not only create the website but to ensure it is able to attain the ‘great website’ tag quickly. Once the agency is in place, the activities can start.
- It starts with the process of sharing your requirements with the website developers
- They may come up with a rough plan and seek your approval
- The agency will then get into the action mode and may share the wireframes with you
- Further building blocks will come up
- The final beta version of the website can be viewed by you and comments offered
These are just the steps involved in the creation and development of the website. The other background work will be handled by a separate team, working on marketing, SEO, and other strategies.
The Conceptualisation – 2 Weeks
As the owner of the website, you must be aware that a lot will depend on the quality and quantity of inputs you provide to the website developing team in the first place. They may or may not be familiar with the way your business works. They may have handled another website for a similar business and those learnings will be of help. They will offer their professional inputs on what will work and what may not work.
The timeframe of 2 weeks for this process is just a general assumption. This can be shrunk to a week by making yourself available on-demand to the website development team.
The Website Takes a Definitive Shape – 2 to 3 Weeks
From the previous step to the next step won’t consume too much time since one set of creative people may have started working on the ideas. They will come up with some mockups first. These are pages you can see on the screen and some features like the colour scheme and the placement of various buttons. You can’t click on those buttons but you can comment if you liked their shape and design and their placement in the overall design and so on.
This will be done for each page and maybe there are multiple teams working on different pages at the same time. You can sit next to the designer and ask for changes to be made. This is feasible only if you are close to the website developing agency’s place.
Your Website Gets Fully Ready – 2 Months
This is the longest process in the creation of a full-fledged website. The individual modules created will have to be integrated and the complete website developed. At this stage, all the images that have to be included in the respective pages would have been embedded. If there are videos or links to external sites to be provided, these will be up. The buttons can be clicked and the resulting pages can be viewed. The website is at this stage hosted on a dummy platform. When the development team announces that they are through with the development of the website, all pages and contents would be in place. The internal testing of the codes will be done by a separate quality checking team. All functions will be tested if they are functioning correctly. The speed of page opening can also be tested in this process.
The Final Push – 1 or 2 Weeks
If everything looks good, the website can go live on the World Wide Web. The agency would have completed the process of fixing the website hosting service provider and registering the name of the website. You can do the live testing of your website. If it is an eCommerce enabled site, you can do a mock purchase and payment to see if all these functions are working perfectly. There can still be a few bugs. That is how these systems operate. As long as there is no serious issue thrown up, you should consider that you are now in business after all.
If you just add up the maximum time assigned for each of the tasks above, it comes to 15 weeks or around 4 months. That may sound a little high. With some concerted effort from all sides, this can be done in 3 months.
Much will depend on the software being used for building the website. There are many options. Some of the cheaper options include WIX and Squarespace. These programs can offer the same facilities while costing less to finish the website.
The Greatness of the Website is Still to Come
While all the steps you have taken so far will result in a very good website fully functional in all respects, greatness will be attained through the subsequent actions.
These include brilliant SEO strategies, marketing efforts to promote the website, and so on. You will have to do a 360° marketing of the website. Social media will have to be effectively used to enhance traffic to your website. Many of these activities will cost you money but considering the business you expect to do through your website, these are pounds spent wisely.
Here, you need a strong agency with relevant experience and a successful track record. In the UK, we are one of the accomplished players in this space. At Nettonic, we can provide a complete range of services, starting with web design, search engine optimisation, and social media marketing. Contact us for all your website-related services.