In today’s ever-evolving technological world, it is more important than ever to have a website for your business. However, when it comes to website development, there are many things to consider before starting the process. The following questions are the top things to ask (and answer) before starting any website project to avoid additional time and costs due to improper planning.

What is the goal of your website?

Is the website an online brochure for customers to learn more about the business? Or are you trying to sell products or maybe you need a lead generation tool? Remember, there are major differences between a traditional website, lead generation and an e-commerce website; therefore, it’s important to know what you want your website to do before you get down to business. Options to consider will be directly impacted by the answer to this question.

What platform will you use for the site?

Depending on what you want to do with your website, when it comes to a content management system (CMS), there are several options. CMS is a web-based software that helps create, edit, organize and publish content and there are a number that could work depending on the website goals. A few popular platforms include: WordPress, HubSpot, Magento, Joomla, Squarespace, Drupal and Acquia. While some platforms are ideal for e-commerce, others are best for just presenting information, so it is critical to make sure you pick the right one.

An additional option to consider is a static file website, meaning that the same content is displayed to every user. These sites have fewer dependencies on systems and improved security over dynamic websites, but a major drawback to static websites is that they require regular content updates so that needs to be considered when selecting this option.

Where will the site be hosted?

Choosing a web host can be impacted by several factors including the software used, speed and number of visits to the site. There are more cost-effective (but less powerful) options as well as a more powerful path like dedicated hosting. Remember, hosting can impact the Google PageSpeed Insights score, which is a ranking factor for performance in search so it’s important to make sure your site has speed in mind when selecting a hosting option.

Using templates and themes or building from scratch?

Most CMS’s have templates and themes that can be used to style a website and range from basic to those for specific industries/purposes. Or a website could be built from the ground up with customized user interface and experience. Determining which one is best may depend on your goals and budget for the project as well as the answer to the next question.

Will your website require special functionality?

Somewhere between an online brochure and a national e-commerce site? Then, your website may need some special functionalities, such as:

  • Integrations with marketing automation systems & CRMs
  • Scheduling/booking tools
  • Job boards & online applications
  • Membership access
  • Live chat
  • Social media & online review streams

Some platforms have plugins that can be used to solve the wants and needs of your website. If there are no plugins available, a third-party integration or a custom solution may be required.

Do you have everything needed to create a site?

Your website needs to have some meat on the bones! The website needs copy, photos and additional content to make it complete. It is important to plan what is needed before it is time to fill in the website.

Planning is a crucial first step in developing a successful website. Do you need further assistance with developing your website? Contact the GRIT team today! For more digital tips and tricks, check out other GRIT blogs here!