Recently we released a blog titled, ‘What I Need to Know for My First Website Build’ which discussed the basics of putting your website together. The blog provided first-timers a good idea of what they would be in for with regards to the web building process and starting a new website from scratch.
In this follow-up blog, we will delve into what you will need to know about the final stages of your website build once you have completed all the steps in our blog Part 1.
So, you’ve hired a professional web designer who has completed the layout, design, and web pages of your new website. It has all been finalised, and your site is taking shape and is looking great!
Now it is time to think about the functionality of your site. Have you tried out your website for yourself? How does it function?
No matter the type of website, it needs to be fully functional and incorporate functions that add extra value. When it comes to sites, after all, functionality is critical. A professional web designer should be able to advise you on which functional features will suit your brand’s goals and visions.
Let us outline a few recommended functional features you need within your website:
- Social Integration: Social media is essential to your success in the digital sphere, and there should be an encouragement for your website viewers to pop over to your social media profiles. You can do this by social integration, a function that automatically displays a few of your latest social media posts on your site.
- Navigation Tools and Tabs: Functionality through website navigation should be easy and visible. Have clearly defined navigational tools will ensure effective website functionality and usability.
- Intuitive Website Forms: With the use of cutting-edge technology, web builders can create intuitive website forms that appeal to the individual based on time spent on the site, pages looked at, demographics, etc. Your online forms must be easy, quick, and functional as this will turn viewers into customers and guarantee filled-in forms.
- Information Architecture and Layout: Content affects functionality, so it’s essential to have high-quality information as well as neat, streamlined information architecture. This improves the functionality, readability, and usability of your company’s website.
- Page Loading Speed: How does each web page function in terms of loading? Does your website function fast with each page boasting fast page loading speed?
There are many more functions and capabilities that websites can handle but it all boils down to the needs of your target market, and how to make your site accessible, enjoyable, and easy to use for them.
What you need to do is research your functionality options and discuss them with your site builder.
The final build of your website will entail the web builders and designers putting all the finishing details on your site to ensure that it is in optimal working condition and exactly what you envisioned. Some of the most important of these finishing touches include:
- Mobile Compatibility
- Fast Page Loading Times
- Well Planned Information Architecture
- Browser Consistency
- Effective Navigation.
- Good Error Handling
- SEO friendly and/or an SEO campaign
- Well-Formatted Pages
- Testing of Functions
The final build stage may require you to add tweaks here and there to ensure that your site is exactly as you want it. If there are a few things that you’re unsure about, you shouldn’t stress as you can always make further tweaks at a later stage.
You want your final product to be a fully optimised and fast loading website.
Before your site goes live, it is highly recommended that all your pages make their debut into the world wide web with optimisation already in place. SEO is very content dependent, and you should ensure that the web copy on your site has been written by a SEO professional, with all the necessary keywords being used to up your site’s rankings from the get-go.
SEO is one of the only effective ways to get organic traffic, which should be on of your aims!
The approval stage of your site build includes having you, the client, approve the final product that the site builders and designers have come up with. If you have other members on your team that are involved in the website build, you may need to show them the final product too before confirmation of approval. You may be given a certain time-frame by which you need to approve the site.
At this point, the site would have been fully tested for any flaws, had its browser compatibility checked, as well as all its functionality. It should be running in perfect order.
Take your time on approving your site. Future adjustments can easily be made but it is better that you are happy the first time around. Upon approval, you will most likely be required to pay the site builder for their billable hours.
Each website design and development company works differently. Some may offer you an all-inclusive package with a set number of changes, while others will include ongoing changes for monthly or yearly subscription fees. Make sure you choose the right billing system that will suit your business model.
Unfortunately, once your website is up and running it is not the end of the work that you need to put into it. Look at a website like a living thing that needs to be looked after to function correctly. A timeless and effective site should not require much maintenance, but there will be tweaks and checks needed if you want to continue to see growth in your traffic, customers, and Google rankings.
Keeping your website up to scratch will ensure that you stay ahead of the curve and well ahead of your competitors. While it may be tempting to cut corners and let a few maintenance tasks fly off the radar, it would be an insult to your original investment if you did not take your website maintenance seriously.
You don’t purchase a new vehicle and not have it serviced regularly; do you?
Do not let your web maintenance needs be forgotten about. Your site builder will most likely offer a maintenance package for tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. It is best to stick with the website developers and designers who created your site as they will know how it works inside out and be able to provide effective maintenance.
Each site is unique and will require slightly different maintenance. Higher traffic eCommerce websites for example may require full daily server backups. For instance, as a guide, maintenance checks should be inclusive of the following:
- Malware and vulnerable framework/plugin scans. Remove, update, or replace as required.
- Review attempted intrusion attempts and take appropriate steps to close potential vulnerabilities
- Look for any 404 errors and fix them
- Search for broken links and them
- Backup your website database
- Check how each page loads
- Post a blog post to keep your audience interested. Use the blog for SEO purposes to insert your marketing keywords too.
- Get rid of any spam in the comments and reviews
- Respond to comments and reviews if need be
- Ensure forms are working correctly
- Make any necessary software updates
- Review your security features
- Website database optimisation
- Image optimisation. Preferably, this should be done before upload
- Check website analytics and analyse all data and statistics (eg. Google Analytics)
- Update any info on blogs or throughout your site that may need to be changed.
- Full off-site website framework and content backups
- Reference should include the current year
- Review the content of the entire site
- Complete off-site server backup
- Renew your website domain name (2 yearly in the case of .AU domains)
- Improve some design elements as needed
It is important to set aside some of your marketing/operational budget for your website maintenance. It is worth it to provide it with fresh content, to assist with search engine rankings, and to keep your website secure.
Looking for the best company to build your very first website and assist with all of those final touches, as well as website maintenance?
At Big Rock Graphics, we have dealt with many first-time clients and have a true passion for bringing brand new website concepts to life.
Allow us to be the team that creates an extraordinary website for your brand.
Contact Big Rock Graphics today!