These days we live in a digital age. However, if you’re not a ‘digital native’ and you are only just getting to grips with using websites, let alone building your own website or using the internet for marketing, you may want some help.
Here at Urban Attic we often work with customers who have been running their businesses successfully for years, but who haven’t grown up with digital media and are not hugely comfortable working with it.
It’s not surprising that this is often the case – after all, the internet is less than three decades old, which is a good deal younger than many of the people we work with, so if you are new to all this, and want a bit of an overview, Urban Attic can help.
Why do I need a website?
You need a website if you are running a business these days. Over ninety percent of the UK population has internet access, and a mobile phone and increasingly when people want to find information, they no longer reach for the phone book! People naturally expect to be able to find information about you online, and they want that information quickly.
This means that when somebody types your name into Google (or any other search engine), if you don’t appear on the first page then you’re unlikely to get found. So not only do you need a website so that you can display information about yourself online, you also need to make sure that your website can be found easily. Thirdly, your website needs to work across devices – from large desktop computer screens to tiny mobile phones and everything in between.
So in conclusion you need
- A website, clearly designed and easy to use
- A website that can get found on Google and other search engines
- A website that works on all devices (about half of search is done on phones now)
- A URL (or web address, such as www.urban-attic.co.uk) that helps you get found and is obvious. We can buy this for you or you can buy one yourself – we would recommend www.123reg.co.uk )
What do I need a website to do for me?
You may just want a very simple website that shows information about what your business does, where it is, and how to get hold of you. This is known as a brochure site, and these sites are quite simple to build, but it’s important that the navigation is sensibly thought out so that you can present your business clearly and simply, and that a user can find what they are looking for. Finally, it’s really important that your website is professionally branded so that it looks clean, clear and simple.
You may want people to be able to send you messages via your website and you might want to integrate social media into your website (such as Facebook, Twitter or Linked In) if you use them. You might want to feature a Google Map on your website so that people can find you.
If you sell things, you may want to do that online. Whether that’s gift vouchers, experiences (such as a parachute jump for example – see the site we just built for Black Knights Parachute Centre) or items for shipping (like chilli sauces! See the website we built for the amazing Mr Vikkis) – you may want to set up online shopping carts and a payment facility on your website so that people can buy things.
If you are shipping items, you may want help with stock control, shipping labels and postage rates. All these things can be done via your website and we can help you to set this functionality up which may streamline your business and save you time overall.
Finally, if you are running the kind of business that requires booking (such as a gym or a B&B) then you can consider a booking system for your website so that your users can book classes or a night somewhere, pay online, and all the information can be automatically sent into whatever booking system you are already using. See The Red Dragon Inn website as an example of a booking integration that we’ve done recently.
What do I need to provide?
You will need to have in mind an idea of how your sitemap is going to work and this all comes down to how you describe your business. We’ll need to discuss what you do and how you do it if we are writing the copy for you – so that we can create the words and find the right images to create the website. If you do something very specialist then it may be best for you to provide the copy, and we’ll need at least three hundred words for each page, which is best for your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation, or getting found on Google).
If you don’t have large, sharp images then we would strongly recommend getting a photographer to help you create some great pictures that you can use on your website and across your marketing. The internet is very ‘visual’ these days, with pictures and video being important in how people use the internet. For example, social media posts with images are more likely to be read than those without, and those with video even more likely to be seen. If you are considering producing video, bear in mind that people watching video on social media (about 58% of them) tend to do it without the sound on, so you’ll need to have subtitles added.
So, to summarise, in order to get a web agency to build a website for you, you’ll need to gather the following:
- Either provide very clear descriptions of what you do, or written copy for each page on the website. Web agencies will make a charge for copywriting so bear this in mind.
- Photos, of you, your products and anything else pertaining to your business. Bear in mind that your photos will need to be landscape in orientation and quite wide (at least 1920px) so that we can put them right across the page. Web design is done screen-wide these days because of phones which makes it quite restrictive.
- Video, if you are going to use it, ideally subtitled so that it can go on the website and your social media
- Social media details
- Your merchant details for your card provider if you are going to be taking payments online. One simple way to do this is by using PayPal; we can talk you through the options.
- Your brand assets such as your logo, fonts and colours if you have them. If you don’t have these brand assets, most agencies can create them for you as part of a web project so just ask.
- You’ll need to give us the log in details for your domain name (your web address) if you have already bought one.
What can I expect to pay?
Well, it depends what you want to have built, and by whom! Agencies charge a huge variety of prices depending on how large they are and how they build websites. Here at Urban Attic we specialise in building sites for owner managed businesses and we use WordPress Themes (which means that we don’t do bespoke code) – this is a much quicker and less expensive way of building websites. You can expect a website from us to cost anything from £2,000 – £10,000 plus VAT depending on what you want it to do. A site with more complexity (such as booking systems, products and the like) will come at a higher cost.
If you’re not sure what you need, the best thing to do is to get in touch and we can give you a quick quote easily.