Content is King:
Your site can have all the bells and whistles in the world. Flashing lights, spinning buttons and fancy sound effects, but if the content is poor, your visitor won’t stay very long. When preparing the content of your site, take your time. Think about what your viewer will want to read. Are you an expert in your area, write about what you know and the results will speak for themselves. Employing a content writer is always a good idea, as they will litter your content with keywords, which will help you out in terms of SEO. If grammar and the gift of writing are not your strong points, outsource.
Every page of your site needs to be planned out in detail. Write them all out, print them out, show them to workmates, take on board their comments. Visit as many sites as you can that are performing well, what have they got on theirs ? Only after several drafts should you contemplate handing over the content to the designer. Sure you can change it later, but from a cost and SEO point of view, it is better to get it right from the start.
Remember your content is more than just text. Consider what photos, pdf’s, links etcetc you want to include.
Consider your site’s structure:
How is your site going to be laid out ? How will a viewer get from page A to page X, then how easy is it to get back home ? These are all elements to consider when laying out your site. A basic flow chart will help give you a visual as to how things will end up. A flat navigation structure should be aimed for.
How many sites have you clicked on, they looked crappy, so you leave. We are a very fickle creature, and looks mean a lot to us, so it is in your best interest to make your site look as appealing as possible.
Assuming you have your branding in place across your logo and graphics, have your designer apply that theme over the site. You want your site to be consistent with branding, so colours and graphics should all be in line with your current style.
Pay attention to factors such as fonts, both style, size and colour. Not everyone’s vision maybe as good as yours, so you must allow for the various types of users that will be using your site. Try to make the experience as straight forward and intuitive as possible. Check W3 standards if you are a little unsure about how to best lay things out.
How does the site look in a range of browsers, or on your iPhone/iPad. Make sure you check all of this well. In terms of content, make sure you get someone to proof read it for you. Do not proofread your own stuff, by now you have read it so many times you will miss bits, so get someone else with a fresh pair of eyes to do it for you.
Do all the links work, do the images download quickly, how about forms and email links ??? Forms can be a bit of a nightmare, so make sure you test these well.
Once you have done all this, you are ready to go. Get her uploaded and get the visitors in. You might want to consider employing the services of a SEO company at this stage to help you get a good ranking on the search engines.
You will want to keep an eye on how your site is doing, so some stats might be helpful. Google Analytics is the leader in this field, and it’s free, so get that hooked up. This will tell you all sorts of useful information – what pages are most viewed, who is clicking what etcetc. All pretty useful stuff.
So there you have it, a basic rundown on how to get your site up and running.
Plan it well &goodluck.