Creating a new website from scratch is sometimes a daunting task. Shock takes away the technical and web design challenges but you still have to consider your images and text content.
Let me describe an approach that might be useful for you.
Rather than thinking of a website in isolation, remember why you’re creating it. Ultimately it will exist to represent your business online either as a fairly static online brochure or ideally a very dynamic representation of the work you do on an ongoing basis. So when you’re creating your website start by thinking about your business.
All good businesses should have a business plan. These come in many formats (depending on your business maturity and industry) but they all include the following:
- How would you describe the customer you service?
- What is your unique value proposition (a statement that describes why you’re different)?
- What are your services or products you sell?
- Why do you exist (why did you start the business, from a customer’s perspective)?
If you don’t have a business plan, add your own answers to these 4 questions. This is both a thought exercise as well as a method of putting together marketing content, a website being one of the marketing channels.
Photos and Images
Now the imagery. Overall, always use bright, clear images and never use pixelated or blurred photos. They might look kind of OK on your phone but on a customer’s large screen PC they just come across as unprofessional. Luckily a modern phone can now take high resolution photos, just make sure they’re taken in good light and you should be good to go. People love seeing happy people so if you have a choice always lean towards a photo of a person, especially if they’re smiling.
I’m starting here because these are normally the easiest. Visit your best and friendliest customers and ask them if you can take photos of them using the result of what you did for them (service or product). You don’t have to show their faces but if you do make sure they’re smiling (take some good Dad jokes with you). Then ask them to tell you why they enjoy what you’ve done for them and capture what they said, in their own words. Add a new testimonial post for each customer (and more than one photo if they turned out good). Not all testimonials need a photo so if a customer gives you a great quote think about not including a photo and a coloured box with the quote will be used instead.
Tagline / Introduction
The tagline and introduction sits on top of your “hero” image (the top image of your website that everyone sees when they first visit is called the hero image). Because you want the tagline to stand out, make sure you pick hero images that don’t have any text in them and are fairly neutral. Not that I’m suggesting landscapes, but I’d describe a country landscape as a good neutral background versus a picture of your business card, which would be confusing for the visitor.
Use your unique value proposition and description of your customer from your business plan to craft a tagline (ideally less than 10 words) and introduction (10 to 25 words).
You can now add your products or services. Just use the information from your business plan and describe each service/product in a separate post. You’ll only need a paragraph and focus on describing the customer benefits. Ideally take your own photos but you can also pick images from the stock photos or head over to Unsplash to search for high quality photos.
Include a description of yourself (or whoever manages the business) to personalise the text but also include why the business exists. You could add a post for each person in the business as well as a post about the business itself. The more you add in this section, the more your customers will feel they’re getting to know you. Remember, your website represents who you are but online, so use your own words and think about how you might describe yourself and your business when a customer is standing in front of you. Adding photos (smiling or at least happy) of each person allows your customers to feel comfortable knowing they’ll recognise you when they first meet you in person.
You could go on to creating a blog, adding news or promotions but what I’ve described will get you going with a great, professional website that hopefully you’ll be proud of.
If you have any questions on this or using Shock don’t be shy and send us a message or feedback.
As always, good luck with the future of your business.