We’ve just launched a brand new Disruptive Media website! Not only are we delighted with the results, but working on an internal project also reminded us of some of the key elements for producing an effective website – which might not be initially obvious to those setting out to create a website for the first time.
Here are six of the critical factors for building a great website, from the initial planning phase right through to going live…
1. Start with the end in mind
As for all good communications, it’s important to know where you’re going and what you want to achieve. Make sure you know what your objectives for the site are right from the beginning. And just as importantly, continually check to make sure you’re still on track to deliver on these objectives throughout the project. It can be easy to lose sight of the end goal once you’re caught up in the flurry of getting the job done.
2. Give equal weight to content, design and functionality
Building an effective website means that all three components of content, design and functionality are equally considered. By getting the balance right between these three components, you’re much more likely to create a site that successfully hits the mark on all levels, rather than leaving some aspects wanting.
3. Plan, plan, plan!
A clear plan will guide your decisions, help break seemingly overwhelming tasks down into more-manageable chunks, and make sure everything is covered off. Understand what’s achievable within your budgets and timeframes. Timing is the hardest thing to control, so make sure you allow plenty of time and resources to deliver, and build in extra time for contingencies. Make lists and tick things off – celebrate each victory.
4. Decide on editability at the beginning
Think about how editable you want the site to be and how much control of the content your organisation wants to have. Make those decisions before you start building – a best use of developer’s time is making the site fit your requirements, rather than making changes retrospectively.
5. Remember your audience
Try not to get carried away with what your personal preferences are for the website. Remind yourself of who your website is talking to and how you’d like them to engage with the site. If you’re constantly ticking off these considerations, you’re much more likely to produce a site that’s on track to reach your end goals.
6. Realise that a website is never finished!
Don’t worry about having everything ready to launch in one go. It’s fine to go live with a baseline level of content and then add new content in the future. Websites are organic and evolving all the time – which is as they should be. Remember you are telling a story and as long as your website is active and dynamic, you have not reached the end of the story yet!
What are some of your top tips for creating a website? Let us know your thoughts.