Why should you care about a high performing website?It’s common knowledge that in this day in age, you need to be online if you own a business… but why? How about this:
86% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business. -NielsonSimply put, if you’re not online, your being left behind. Unfortunately, just having any old website really isn’t enough any more and that’s simply because there are billions of websites in the world (and x number new ones every day). So, if you want your website to help you with your business, then you need to consider making a great one, or at least a very good one.
70 new domains are registered and 571 new websites are created every 60 seconds. -IntelBad websites typically just sit there and don’t do anything. They don’t rank online well and the limited traffic they do get doesn’t garner many leads or sales and most bad websites do a bad job of branding too. On the contrary, high performing websites rank high in search engines and they get a lot of visitors. Those visitors have a pretty easy time understand the value proposition (what you offer) and can take action easily. These websites also help establish great brand authority, trust and can even make you an industry leader amongst your competitors and peers. All of this leads to increased leads and sales for your business. Now, which sounds better to you? If you picked the awesome website, then read on.
Knowing Your Market, Competition, & Website Goals
Before starting on your website development project, there are a few things you will want to be aware of that will help ensure your website meets your goals. If you need help planning these, that’s okay. Any good website developer will go over this during your project.
Know Your MarketThis is really part of a general business plan, but it’s pretty important to know and understand that market. For example, a website project for a hospice company and an iPhone app website should have significant differences, because of their different average targeted demographics.
Understand Your CompetitionSimilarly, you need to have a good understanding of who your competition is and how you relate to them currently in the marketplace. There’s a saying that goes like this: “You don’t have to outrun the bear, just the person next to you” and the same is true for your website.
Setting GoalsAnother critical part to hash out before the development and design begin is setting goals that make the most sense for the project. Are you trying to increase traffic and leads, get better SEO or establish more trust? Knowing these will help you keep your project on track.
Defining Website SuccessOnce you’ve launched your new high performing website, you’re going to want to measure things so you can see if you’re meeting your goals. We cover some of this in our What is Search Engine Optimization resource, so I won’t repeat it. Just know that measurement is a critical aspect.
Technical Overview of Website Terminology
Knowing the basics of web terminology will help you understand the process and give you great awareness of all the components involved. If you already know this stuff or are simply uninterested in the specifics, feel free to skip ahead.
Basic Website Terms and Definitions
- Domain Name: A domain name is a name that helps a user easily navigate to a set of computer files. Example: our domain name here is multiversemediagroup.com.
- URL:Short for “Uniform Resource Locator”, but commonly called a web address is part of a domain name that leads to a specific page. Every new web page on your website will have it’s own URL.
- DNS: Short for “Domain Name System”, DNS is a essentially a set of instruction residing on a computer that translates a URL to a specific file on a specific web server.
- Website: A website is a collection of all of the web pages (URLs) in one domain name and can include files such as images, videos, apps, and much more.
- Web Server: A web server is a computer, normally of enterprise grade and in a dedicated web serving environment, that ‘serves’ up web files and when a URL is requested. Please note that not all web servers are created equal and bad ones can hurt your results. Check out our premium managed hosting service.
- Web Browser: Web browsers are the programs that reside on your personal computers (Mac, PC, tables, or phones) that display web pages when requested. Hint: you’re on one now looking at this webpage.
- HTML: HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language” and is the primary code of the web and is responsible for giving website’s their structure, layout, content, and more. Note, there are many other coding languages that work with HTML to make most websites, but HTML is required.
- Website Platform: A website platform refers to the method in which the website was assembled and/or hosted. There are website builder platforms which are inexpensive, but are 100% DIY. Another is called a “static” site which is a site of files and folders for a website that is not a CMS in any way. The last, is called a CMS which is defined below.
- CMS: CMS stands for “Content Management System” which is essentially a system designed to allow users to be able to administer their own websites, add new content, and make changes without a web developer. At MVMG, we only develop CMS websites because we believe it allows easier management, higher ROI, and better long term flexibility. Check out a blog where we talk about our favorite CMS.
- Web Content: A website’s contents are the written words, images, videos, and any other type of assets that make up what the end user interacts with. Content is a critical part of any website, because without it, there’s nothing to display.
- SEO: SEO is short for “Search Engine Optimization” and is basically the process of making a website ranking higher in search engines using on-page and off-site methods.
- UX/UI This is a part of the website process and stands for “user experience and user interface design”. This basically is the process of figuring out what elements are needed to get the right actions from visitors and where they should go. Sort of similar to the science of ergonomics.
- Sitemaps A sitemap is a list of all the pages on a website. There are two main types: XML, which is for search engines, and a standard html one meant for humans. Both are important.
- Wireframes A wireframe is a crude drawing or mockup taking the elements from UX/UI and demonstrating where elements will go on a web page. Doing this before design and development helps save time and ensure a smooth flow of the remaining stages.
Understanding the Website Development ProcessRegardless of what website platform you choose, what web host, or web development company, there’s always a process to building websites. Now, everyone’s process is a bit different, some longer, some shorter, but all these elements will need to be done to have a successful website.
An Example Website Development Process (ours)
- Discovery: This stage involves client and competition research, setting goals, and planning. It normally involves setting limitations within the budget as well.
- Strategy: Here the main goals are UX/UI, develop sitemaps, and a wireframes to aide in the design process. Content is normally acquired and/or developed here.
- Design: The design process is the stage in which you actually see close to final representations of what the site may looks like. These may be presented as flat designs or interactive private webpages.
- Development: This stage is where all the above elements come together into your website. Coding languages such as HTML, PHP, CSS, Java and more may be used as well as all the final content assets to present the design on multiple devices and sizes.
- Launch: The last step is the launch step. Normally, there’s testing before and right after launch to ensure everything is working as it should.