10 Steps for a Professional Web Design

By DANIEL SANDOVAL | Diseño Web | No Comments

Translating business goals into website design

Now days building a productive website is a necessity for all size of businesses including home-based, small to mid-sized and of course large corporations. Let’s say you already understand the type of website your business needs and you want a “standard” website like your competitors, but better. What’s next? Let’s take a look at the big picture from Struoweb’s Design perspective:

1) Business Goals

2) Budget & Scope

3) Choose a Domain

4) Hosting Package

5) Content Structure

6) Design Layout Drafts & Approval

7)  Build & Test Until Approval

8) Corporate Emails setup, Integrations & Social Profiles

9) SEO Setup

10) Promote & Grow the site.

Let’s dive into the

  1. Business Goals:  Choosing realistic goals is the obvious step most of web designers and customer underestimate or just forget. When you build a website small business owners usually goes into 2 simples options:
  1. Extension of my brochure: This approach narrows the market size to existing customers only. It’s fair enough for some businesses but you lose the whole potential of the web.
  2. SEO Ready site: It sounds like a fantastic machine to generate leads with no fuel, just a magical page that will bring millions of new customers every day. Even knowing this is possible in most of the cases search engines ranking is the result of consistent hard work.

Other goals that many forget to include:

  • Design interactions for my existing customers to re-engage them.
  • Establish and manage my relations with other influencers in my industry.
  • Establish and manage my relations with other influencers in my neighborhood.
  • Provide a space to manage the feedback from my products and services.
  • Promote deep & detailed information around your product and services, beyond the basic.
  • Create & grow a list of leads.

 

But why would I even care about these goals? Because specific & realistic goals are the ones that will help you achieve the general ones. The more specific the better.

2) Budget & Scope:

How much cost to build a website?

What cost are involved in a website construction and promotion?

In the construction (for small sites):

Domain  (annual fee. Rounds 10-$35$/year)
Hosting (monthly fee. Rounds $100-$500/year)
WebDesign (One time fee. Hourly $40 – $250/hrs)

SEO & Promotions (for small business):

Social Media ($300 – $900 monthly fee)
Blogging ($200 – $800 monthly fee)
Press Releases ($200 – $2000 per PR)
Directory Submission ($180 – $600)
Content Creation (Graphics, Videos, Interviews) ($300 – $6000)

 

SEO or content marketing promotion packages varies a lot according to your goals. Most part of this on-going promotion can be done in-house but honestly it never happens or it’s done unprofessionally. The best company you can hire is the one that works the closes to you as possible. It’s nearly impossible to build a successful SEO campaign when there’s no communication with the client.

If any of your goals included getting new customers in the next few weeks or month you are probably going to need a PPC campaign it’s the best way to get a your ROI faster, but it’s not always cheap. In a pay per click model you can pay from $0.01 to $300 per click, so you better need a professional to even test if it works for your business.

 

3) Choose a Domain: It might seem like the easiest step, but be aware this decision might affect the near future of your online business. My suggestion: keep it simple, choose the name of your business or do a keyword research before buying a different one, avoid guessing when you refer to keywords. If you are considering buying a used domain such as another business’ domain you MOST do a domain link analysis before acquiring it.

4) Hosting Package: There are tons of hosting providers, just make sure to read the reviews of their support department and that you have access to it. In short the hosting service is the responsible for:

Storing your website files
Manage E-mail
Protect your database

Consider a CDN (content delivery network) under 2 conditions:

  • You already  have a high traffic site.
  • You expect to receive clients from distant locations.

Also consider using an SSL certificate from the beginning, google has already said that they consider it a ranking factor.

5) Content Structure:

Before start building the website consider creating a URL structure or sitemap proposal in order to define the total number of pages, the suggested URL, focused keyword and the goal.

Example

 

URL Title Focus Keyword Goal
greenicecreamsite.com My Green Ice Cream: The creamiest Ice Cream in town Green ice cream Provide a global vision of the brand and an easy way to access to the our products and services
greenicecreamsite.com/miami-distribution MY green Ice Cream Distribution Services in Miami Green Ice cream distribution Generate distribution leads from the form.
greenicecreamsite.com/flavors Healthy Green Ice Cream Flavors Green Ice Cream Flavors Generate engagement and social signals from high end graphics.

 

A good exercise for creating this table is analyzing your competitors and try to identify their goals, pros and cons.

6) Design Layout Drafts & Approval

Now on with clear goals in mind  is the right time create the content we need, and make sure the layout of each page fits in the goals of the project. Consider these tips when creating each piece of content:

  • Are the graphics aligned with the goals?
  • How satisfactory is the user experience?
  • Keyword density of the document
  • Does the document include the keywords I want to rank for
  • Does the page provide a clear call to action for goal of the page.
  • Is the intention of the page clear in the first few lines?
  • Is this page useful for my target audience?
  • Does it provide easy ways to find related content?

7)  Build & Test Until Approval

Now days building a website from scratch is most of the times a bad idea. There are many CMS (Content management system) that create independence between the website owner and the developer, making a website easy to update and maintenance is not tied to a particular provider. Some of the most popular CMS and Ecommerce platforms used from small sites to multi million companies are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Concrete5
  • Magento
  • Spotify
  • Bigcommerce
  • Volusion
  • Bigcartel
  • 3Dcart
  • Prestashop

8) Corporate Emails setup, Integrations & Social Profiles

At this stage the site is almost done, but still we need to connect it to our existing tools such as CRM, emails, phones and social life. Let’ take a quick overview:

E-mails: There are many email provider: Microsoft Exchange, Google Business, Microsoft 360 and many more. Probably you already have an email solution, but when building a new website you should be checking you have these:

  • All the forms are sent to a relevant email and tracked in the SEO reports.
  • Integrations are in place including newsletter, CRMs (Zohos, SugarCRM, Salesforce, InfusionSoft, MailChimp, ContactForm, Zappier, Slack, etc)
  • Have links to your website and social profiles from your email signature.
  • Have set the email redirections or automatic response as needed.
  • Have set client-side software (outlook, smartphone, instant messaging, etc)

Phones: In many cases phone call tracking makes good sense, for some business people will prefer a phone call instead of a filling a form. So there are plenty phone call tracking solutions in order to allow us to learn from the visitor behavior as long as employees phone performance.

Social Profiles: Creation social profiles is not an option anymore, but selecting which ones do we want to jump in is an option and an important decision, starting digging where most of your clients and potentials clients are before choosing the right one for you, avoid using feelings and hunches instead of facts for taking this choice.

  • Make sure you have the social action related to your page goals on each page.
  • Make sure you have your business social profile in the right category for each social network.
  • Set a brand coherent profile across all the social network profiles.

9) SEO Setup:

Once the construction process is done an SEO audit should be performed in order to enable the index directive. Obviously it should has been be disabled during the building process (most of the web designers don’t do this). At this stage you should prepare at least:

  • Create an XML Sitemap and submit it to google and bing.
  • Create an HTML Sitemap and submit it to google and bing.
  • Create a robots.txt file and submit it to google and bing.
  • Set all pages to index, and set noindex any scraped content.
  • Create reciprocal links between social profiles.
  • Set and check analytics tracking and conversion goals.

10) Promote & Grow the site.

From the SEO audit, business goals and budget, set a realistic plan for growing the website, remember the biggest brand provide large amount of RELEVANT content to their audience, make a plan to grow your business and don’t forget to write me a comment here when you do it. By the way you don’t need to wait to get rich, you can leave me your comments right now.