Creating a good website isn’t just about programming. It’s about being able to think like your customers. It’s about understanding your own reasons for having a website in the first place. It’s about making sure that it’s specifically tailored to achieve your exact purposes.
You don’t create a website because you “should have one”; you create it because it’s a natural outgrowth of your needs in the real world. A good website should be exactly tailored to who you are, what your mission is and what you’re trying to achieve.
Your Website is About YOU
Too often, websites are sold as a cookie-cutter template. The structure, graphics and writing are based on whatever a marketing company has done before—not on your exact needs.
The right way to design a website is to take into account the following:
- What is the purpose of your organization?
- What is your “brand” or identity?
- What are you trying to get the website to produce? In other words, how will it result in increased revenue? Is it designed to work for you or is it just an informational brochure?
- Who are the users of the website—what type of people are you writing it for?
- How does it achieve the overall purposes of your company?
When you buy a “five page website” you are not buying something tailored to your needs; you’re buying a template. Maybe your company needs a seven page website—or a twenty-three page site. Either way you’ll be happy with it if it’s exactly what you need.
The right way to create a website is to work backwards from the product you want to get out of it. If everything is factored around that, you’ll end up with something that is exactly what you need. You don’t start from “what type of website should I have?” You start from “what am I trying to achieve with my website?”
This is the essence of a custom website.
The Basics of Custom Websites
On a custom website there are three different people who work together to get the job done. These are:
- Graphic designer
The writer actually creates the content for the website and, if he’s good, will even work out the structure of it: what types of pages you will need, what they will say and what “channels” a customer will travel through in order to actually buy your product or sign up. He creates the roadmap, the structure and all the words.
The next step is to give the website to a programmer who actually creates the product that will show up on the Internet. He makes the web pages themselves and programs them to be what you want. He drops in the words and puts the mechanics together.
After that a graphic designer creates the design elements, pictures and logos necessary for the website. This has a lot to do with how “cool” a website looks—it’s just a matter of how good the graphic designer was.
The last step is for the programmer to put it all together so that it fits exactly as it should: the words, photos and graphics along with any computer programming that is needed to make it all work.
As an aside, on a big project all of these people are managed by an additional person, usually an experienced writer, designer or programmer, called the “project manager.”
What Do I Do?
I am a copywriter. That means that I actually write the words (copy) of the website. But I do way more than that. Because I’m also a branding and marketing consultant I’m actually more like hiring a writer and a project manager at the same time. I don’t just write your website; I personally tailor it to your exact needs so it really produces for you.
The basic process that I go through in planning out a website is:
- First I interview you to determine your goals, your “branding” (personal identity) and the goal you are trying to achieve with the website.
- I then analyze exactly what your website would have to consist of in order to achieve that product.
- After this I create an overall outline for the website and its purpose and go over it with you, ensuring that it will do exactly what you want it to.
- Lastly I actually write the website itself, specifying how the basic layout and design elements need to interact with the text that is written.
- After this is done I then send it to a programmer.
The goal of all my writing is simply to ensure that you get the exact product that you were looking for–one that fits you precisely and which communicates exactly what you wanted to say.