You are designing a new site for a brand-new client, and the staff knows nothing about web design but they have some specific ideas about the look and feel of their website. Unfortunately, in this case, the customer is not always right. It is our job to educate them. Sometimes that education comes with a certain amount of compromise.
However, there are some things that are essential for every new website, and no matter what else your client demands, you have to have these three essentials.
A Reliable Host
If you don’t host the client website yourself or they do not have their own hosting server, you need to make sure the host they choose is reliable.
Aside from well-known hosts like Go Daddy, Blue Host, and Host Clear, there are several smaller companies that offer hosting, sometimes for specific types of businesses or industries. There are several guides to choosing a web host, and many of them are rated by reliable websites and online publications.
It is acceptable and even essential that you ask questions as this point. The best designed site with the greatest content doesn’t matter if the web hosting service experiences frequent outages, slow downs, or other glitches. Make sure your customer is aware of potential issues, and chooses a host that is best for their situation.
A Workable Domain Name
All domain names are not created equal, and although your client might have something specific in mind, sometimes their choice will simply not work. You have to ask them and yourself some questions before you even get started.
- Is the Domain Name Relevant? The customer needs to choose a domain name that relates to who they are or what they do. Brand names like Apple work well, or the name of a person who is well known like stevenking.com. So do names like tires.com or hotairballoons.com.
- Is the Domain Name Available? Of course, some names are more common or may be already taken. Using a domain name search tool, your client can determine if the name they want is even available and how much it will cost.
- Is the Domain Name Simple? Domain names should be simple: easy to spell, say, and type. If the website name is easily misspelled, confused with another one, or difficult to type into a browser including on a mobile phone, encourage your customer to change it.
- Can the Domain Name be Misinterpreted? If the initials of the website spell something humorous or when the name is run together it can have another meaning, your customer may want to change it. No one wants to be known by the initials for the American Ski Society.
Once you have a workable domain name, you can move on to other essentials.
A Relevant and Workable Theme
This relates not only to the colors and whether the site looks good. There are several other questions you need to ask about your client before you select a theme. There are many free WordPress themes, but first you need to determine if they are right for your client and what they do.
- What do they do? Is this site for an ecommerce seller who needs those kinds of features, or is it for a real estate agent who posts pictures and videos?
- What is most important to them? While clients need to embrace inbound marketing and SEO, they may not all have the same priorities. Take T-Mobile for example: their website is filled with product pages and advertising, but they do not have a blog or much at all for other content.
- Who will maintain the site? If you are building the site, but the company’s own IT department or someone else is taking over daily operations and maintenance, a simpler theme that has a simple user interface for small changes may be a better choice than a more complex yet powerful one.
Selecting a good workable theme is vital. While the domain name is the first impression users get, the second is the appearance and functionality of the site. A poor design will result in high bounce rates and reduced traffic.
Once you have these essentials worked out with your client, you can start to build them a spectacular website that is SEO optimized and responsive. But without the foundation of these essentials, much of your time could be wasted, and no matter how skilled you are the site could be a failure.