Your website is like your holiday.
We are all working towards our summer holiday, right? Our kids have their last month at school and the office is buzzing with holiday destinations. In the back of our mind, we’re already thinking about that sunny day at the beach this summer. It struck me how many similarities there are between planning your holiday and planning your website. Think about it:
Why are you going on a holiday / why are you setting up a website?
What is your destination / what is the main goal of your website?
Where do you want to go sightseeing / what do you want your visitor to see?
Will you be using a travel agency / are you going to build the site yourself?
What is your budget?
What are we going to do?
If the purpose of your website isn’t clear, you might as well not set up a website. It’s like planning a trip without thinking about what kind of trip you want to make. Spending two weeks on a beach is totally different from hiking from mountain top to mountain top.
There are a couple of things to consider up front for your website:
Is your website strictly meant as an online brochure / reference material?
Do you want people to get in touch with you?
Is your website a place to sell stuff immediately (eCommerce site)?
Obviously, there can be combinations of the three as well.
Where are we going?
If you plan a trip, your destination is obviously very important. You can combine hiking and leisure. But if your goal is just sipping Martini at the beach, you don’t want to end up in Nordkapp. For your website, this is pretty similar. A website meant to establish contact with new customers, has a different look and feel than a website that is meant to support existing customers, for instance. The core of your site will be different. Finding that main, core element your website revolves around can be hard. As it can be to pick a destination for your holiday.
Ask yourself “what’s my main business” and make sure that that business, or proper content about it, is the centerpiece of your website.
What travel agency/web designer should you use?
Why would you want to try to book that entire trip yourself? Your main business is probably not building websites or writing content. It is convenient to use a web partner that knows what plugins to use or how to optimize your images for speed or mobile. It simply means you don’t have to worry about any of this, as is the case when using a travel agency. All will be taken care of.
And what budget should you reserve?
As with your holiday, a new website, or adding improvements to your website, will cost you money. There is no standard for this, but let me assure you that a good developer comes at a certain price. Do you think you can get a new website for $699? You can’t. If your web design agency or web developer charges $699 for a website, start running and never look back. It’s like booking a trip, arriving at your destination only to find out that the trip did not include an accommodation. Where it initially appeared to include that. Paying $699 for a website is a start, but your developer will charge you for every email you send and every feature request you mention. Buy cheap and waste your money.
As mentioned, there is no golden rule for your budget. Just keep in mind that people ‘window shop’ online as much as offline. Your store just has to be appealing, and your door should be open at all times. And yes, that will cost you money, depending on the project you have in mind. Having built and sold my share of websites, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you will talk to your web designer or developer a lot after your website goes live. It will help if you hire a trustworthy, client-friendly company. A company that doesn’t just do what you tell ’em to, but shares knowledge and helps you to lift your online presence to a higher level. Don’t be afraid to pay for that.
Have a nice holiday/website!
Of course, there is more to planning your holiday. And more to planning your website. As you will understand by now, there is a lot to consider. But as your holiday is meant to relax after working hard for all these weeks, so is a properly planned website. You don’t build a house without thinking about the foundation first, right. Make sure you have answered the questions above first, and then start designing that website. It’ll be a nicer trip that way!