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3 Steps To Planning Your Website: Preparation

Website building preparation graphic on Snug Harbor DesignNow that you’re ready to work with Snug Harbor Design and build your new web presence on WordPress, there are several components that need to be in place to make the process move forward efficiently and in a timely manner. One of the biggest obstacles designers face in delivering a top notch site on time is the preparedness of the client. I like to look at the process in relation to building a house. If you were looking to build a new dream home for yourself, you and your builder would need solid ideas and direction in three key areas: how will the house look from the outside, how will it function and flow on the inside, and what materials are going to bring this all together.

The first step in creating the web site of your dreams is having a general idea of how you want it to look to your visitors. It’s no secret that first impressions mean a great deal in business (as in life), and a cluttered, chaotic and incoherent first website visit can lead to a fast exit. Knowing a few key elements regarding the visual aesthetic of your dream site can help guide the designer toward your great first impression.

  • Consider your audience and what their interests will most likely be. Are you targeting adults, teenagers or children? Men or women? Are they local, regional, national or international? Are your services based on the seasons (landscaping, snow removal, jet ski rental)? Do you need to portray a “good time” or a solid, reputable and respected service? Consider the mood your site should portray right off the bat.
  • Decide on a color scheme. Colors have a huge impact on people’s state of mind. If you’re in the business of financial advising, potential clients may not feel so confident in your abilities if you present a site featuring neon greens, pinks and yellows. However, if you make children’s items, those colors may make your new guest feel right at home. Best practice is to choose three colors that reflect your business vision while complimenting each other to create a uniform look throughout the site. If you already have logos and other branding items for your site, obviously you’ll want to remain consistent with those color schemes.
  • If you do not yet have a logo or other identifying branding, consider all elements of your marketing campaigns and how each image should fit into each specific medium you are using. For websites, do you wish to have a smaller square image or logo, or just a text name? Keep in mind…logos are instrumental to the image of a business, and while you may be satisfied with simply having “Dumbledore’s Decadent Desserts” as the header of your site, a simple logo associated with that name can be used in a variety of marketing outlets.  Apple’s apple, AT&T’s spinning globe, Facebook’s F and Twitter’s bird are great examples of how a simple image can invoke powerful associations.Snug Harbor Design examples of well-known logos
  • Another important piece toward great first impressions of your site is undoubtedly the domain name itself. You may think the best choice for your domain name would be the exact-name-of-your-business.com, but that is not always true. Sometimes your name is too long and cumbersome, too easily confused with another competitor, or too common and already taken. In these instances, choosing a domain name that is unique to your business, memorable to the visitor and simple enough to type correctly the first time is just as important as how the site looks once they’re there. If they can’t remember the domain name, can’t type it in on the first or second try, or end up on someone else’s site altogether, your first impression has taken quite the hit.

I have found that having each new client do some research on the internet relating to their industry provides invaluable guidance and information to get started in the designing process. Before your first production meeting with your designer, document 5 websites (any field) you love, 5 sites within your field you admire, and 5 sites (any field) you loathe. Let them know what you love and what you loathe about the sites, and you’ll be providing a fantastic basis for them to get started efficiently toward creating your site they way YOU want it to look, right from the beginning.

Once you’ve come to an understanding of how the site (and your dream house) should look, it’s time to figure out how it will flow and function on the inside. This is the development process, and Part II of this post gives a brief overview of what you should be ready to consider and provide to help keep your website construction progressing smoothly.

Read Part II – 3 Steps To Planning Your Website: Structure

About Me

My name is Erik Swartz, and I've got my toes in the sand in Folly Beach, just outside Charleston, SC. After many years in the high country of Colorado playing in a touring band, snowboarding and bundling up, the time had come to get to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, where I still play guitar from time to time, look forward to Stand Up Paddleboarding and try to cool down.

Quick Contact

Snug Harbor Design
PO Box 665
Folly Beach, SC 29439
Phone: (843) 327-7285
Email: erik@snugharbordesign.com

Creative Food for Thought

The future of business is social.
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