If you're starting out on a new website project, you need to prepare for it just like any other business project.
It's not just a case of a quick chat with Tony, choosing a design, and bingo, you've got a website (although we make it as easy as possible!). It's a collaborative project that involves input from your side, to ensure we create the website your business needs and deserves.
It also takes time, effort and a little bit of 'client homework'! So, what do you need to consider?
The most frequently asked question at a first meeting with Akira Studio is "How quickly can you get this done?" And the answer is "How quickly can YOU get everything together and respond to our progress?"
Good website design takes time, and that includes the time you as the customer need to allocate for:
- Meeting with your design team
- Bringing materials together
- Sourcing images, sound files, videos and downloads
- Approving visual designs
- Approving sitemaps / page structure
- Identifying keywords for your marketplace
- Writing web content
- Proofreading content offline
- Checking the website online
At Akira, our team can help you reduce that list with additional services such as sourcing professional images, doing your SEO keyword research and writing content. However, we'll still need you to put aside time to check over what we've provided, and make sure it's what you want!
Most web design companies in Ontario will quote timescales of between 4-6 months for a business website. We can offer better turnaround times, but only if we've planned who does what right at the start, and you can commit sufficient time to the project.
Content is everything that appears on your website that isn't part of the design structure. This includes:
- On-page text
- Meta tags (hidden text)
For most clients the major task in creating a new or revamped website is writing the text. This needs to be clear, concise and in a single brand voice across all pages. It also needs to be "SEO'd" so it contains the phrases (keywords) customers are typing into search engines to find products and services like yours. Even for a simple 10-page website, this can add up to a lot of writing. That's why most Akira clients choose to let our professional copywriter create their content. It saves them time, ensures that their text is well written and focused, and is a genuine lifesaver for business owners who would rather walk over hot coals than write a sentence!
Once people arrive at your website, they'll want to see what your business is about straight away. So, it's crucial to have clear, bright images that convey what you do quickly and easily. There are three ways of doing this:
- Use stock images
- Have professional photos taken
- Take photos yourself
The quickest and easier way is to use stock images. These are professional photos that you buy a license to use. There are millions available covering almost every service you can think of, and they are highly cost-effective. However, they are by their very nature generic and of course, don't have the personal touch.
Hiring a professional photographer ensures you get great images of your business with that personal touch. A good photographer will also find new angles (literally) on your business, making your manufacturing fascinating and your services scintillating. However, if your business is seasonal and/or based outside, you will need to arrange a photoshoot on at least three different days, so your landscape company doesn't always appear to work in deep snow or autumn rains!
Taking your own photos is a terrific way to capture the very essence of what your business does, with very little expense. Clients will always prefer to see your team in action in real locations, especially for service companies such as tradesmen. If you take the highest resolution possible, and budget a little for Akira to work some Photoshop magic on the results, you can create good images that give your website a friendly and welcoming feel.
With video, customers are actually a lot more forgiving of home-shot or mobile phone footage than you might think. Thanks to the popularity of YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram et al, customers will enjoy seeing a short timelapse video of your building project, or a fun video showing how you make your delicious cupcakes. If the very thought of video makes you break into a cold sweat, Akira can partner with local video companies we know who get great results - and don't charge the earth.
This is the part of a website project that most clients gloss over - the time needed to check designs with colleagues, proofread and amend text, look at photos to choose the best, etc. Most importantly, you also need to allow time for your management team to give the entire website a final, in-depth lookover BEFORE it goes live! For ecommerce sites, there's also the time required to enter all your product details, including prices, discounts etc.
You can do it!
Now for the good news; hundreds of businesses large and small have built websites with Akira Studio - and really enjoyed it! We view every website as a team effort, so you're kept informed at every stage. Since all our website are designed in-house, you have direct access to the people creating your website anytime during working hours. Many of our clients find the experience of looking at their whole business and putting it online very stimulating, The process fires their enthusiasm and creativity for their business and helps them identify new opportunities for online marketing, etc.
If you'd like to discuss your website requirements with Akira, call us anytime Monday - Friday during working hours.