HOW TO CREATE YOUR WEBSITE
There is no getting away from it - your business has to have a website. In the creation of MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare®, this is another area where I wished I knew a bit more and had listened a bit more attentively when I got all that free corporate training. This is probably the area where I felt most out of my depth and most vulnerable to being duped and, surprise-surprise, I made some mistakes along the way. I was recommended someone who had built a website in the same industry. I met X, early on in the process because I paid him to help me build a blog for my consultancy business. Although I liked X well enough, it was not an enjoyable experience because A) I hate feeling like a dummy and B) I am inquisitive, like to understand (not just do) what I am doing and why C) X is not a good teacher and I felt a bit stupid. Needless to say, I never really did anything with that blog and it is probably sitting on some cyber-space shelf somewhere.
A comfortable connection is important[/caption] regarding their services. The first time I met Clare we connected and it felt comfortable. She is really good at explaining how things work and building a site that is sympathetic to SEO. In the first meeting I explained about the brand, my history, the positioning, the products, the USP's the competitors and what I was expecting from my own site. After agreeing what pages we would have, services etc and meeting R - i.e. the brief, Clare quoted and I accepted. Clare strongly recommended the warehouse and distribution centre that had recommended her and she linked my website to their system. As I write this, the W&D centres performance so far has been dismal and if I have to change, that will require additional programming, cost and disruption to the business. Let's keep our fingers crossed that is not the case. Clare was great at giving advice - it was she who told me to get a move on with sorting out merchant services as a priority and is cost conscious in her recommendations added to which she was on hand pretty much as needed - and I needed!
The best thing was, that after just one or two meetings Clare presented a page design that was pretty spot on. She had really listened and asked good questions and then interpreted the 'style' of the pages to fit the brand design, colours, target audience and positioning, extraordinarily well for a first shot. We were a bit later to launch than I planned and therefore, did not get all the testing done that I would have liked before going live and we are still updating - that is another good thing because the project has not finished for her at launch - it finishes when it is right and that is when the invoice came. Hooray! A professional attitude and work ethic.
Lesson: Take a recommendation on who to use and look at their work thoroughly before seeing them. See at least three alternative operators and use the systems they have built even if it means making a purchase on that site.
Lesson: Research in advance, sites that have features that you like. Provide this to the Web Designer and ask for opinion. If you don't get direct answers, that might be indicative of what lies ahead.
Lesson: Trust your instinct - especially in areas where your knowledge and experience is weak, you must have good communication between you.
Lesson: Ensure you website is built so that it is compatible with mobiles, tablets, computers and search engines and that the e-commerce works on all.
Lesson: There is a lot of copy and imaging required for inclusion in the website. Be prepared and have it all ready as this could cause delays. Use a copy writer if you are not great at writing or ask your website designer if they have that service.
Lesson: Get on with setting up your merchant account as early as possible. Without this you cannot take any money.
Lesson: Do not sign up to a W&D centre until you have visited at least three to see their set ups. It is relatively easy for a good programmer to link your website to any system.
Request: I would love to have your thoughts and interaction regarding this and other blog posts so please, leave a comment below. Thanks.