There are more marriage proposals and engagements between the 24th December and 1st January, than at any other time of year. And once the thrill of saying Yes has faded, your attention then inevitably turns to organising the big day. You want it to be perfect and that takes a lot of effort and planning.

Websites are no different. Once you’ve said Yes to the idea of launching one, it needs careful consideration and planning within the context of your wider marketing efforts. Your website is a marketing channel after all and should form part of your marketing strategy. Deciding on its content, structure and objectives are all part of the marketing planning process. So what decisions are you faced with?

Should You Elope?

Of course not all engagements are long. Some people opt for the simpler, cheaper and quicker route of eloping. If I’m honest that’s how I started (my first website not the eloping bit!). I registered my domain then used a free tool to create a couple of simple pages. All was well until I wanted some flexibility. I discovered just how constrained I was by the templates. I liked the design, but I could only have it in orange. I’d come unstuck with something as basic as colour.

These sites have their place. They work for people who need something simple, quick and with no frills. They’re perfect for someone with little or no budget and no experience or desire to stray from the given parameters.

Dive Straight In?

OK, so it’s very tempting to run straight for the bridal shops when you say ‘Yes’, but you need to think first about what type of wedding you want, how much you’ve got to spend and what impression you want to make. It’s no different with a website. Even before you start designing, go back to your marketing plan and tie this in with your overall approach. Why?

  • To create synergy with other marketing activity
  • To keep costs low – you don’t want to have to keep redoing your website
  • To ensure your website is fit for purpose and supports your overall objectives

You can’t please everyone. Anyone who has ever planned a wedding has experienced the relentless and uninvited swathes of opinions, advice and requests from all and sundry. From who to invite to who they should sit next to, it’s impossible to please everyone. The same can be said for websites. If you try to cater to everyone who could possibly be interested in your products or services, you will find the design, content and costs will soon spiral out of control. However, if you take time to identify your ideal customers, you can focus on refining the messaging that appeals to them, and only them. This is such an important step. It is all part of having a wider marketing plan. Solve this up front and you’ll save yourself lots of time in the long run.

Choosing Your Theme

Are you going elegant and sophisticated are you more bo-ho chic? The answer will, of course, be reflected on you and a website should be no different. It needs to reflect who you are as a business – your brand, your personality, your look and feel. And it’s not all about what is instantly visible. What functionality do you need to have? Do you need people to book online, be able capture email addresses or customise orders and offerings?

How much to spend?

The average cost of a wedding in 2019 was an eye-watering £31,974. Website costs can range from a free online template to £15,000 and up. Just like a wedding, chances are you won’t have a bottomless pit of money. Be clear what your budget is, stick to it and prioritise what you need accordingly.

How Will People Get There?

This is where weddings have it easier. You already have the contact details of the guests you want to invite. You simply need to reach out to them and confirm whether they can make it. With your website, chances are you won’t have any contact details. You need to plan how you are going to attract these customers to your site. Will you use social media, Google Ads, SEO? The list is endless and again will be guided by your overall marketing plan and available budget.

I’ve touched upon just some of the key considerations when creating a new website, with three key take-outs:

  • Just like a wedding, you need to plan your website. What do you want to achieve, who do you want to attract and what do you want them to do when they get there?
  • Don’t view your website in isolation. Integrate it into the wider marketing planning process.
  • Planning will ensure your site is fit for purpose, resilient and designed for your best target customers.

Action these take-outs and you’ll have the wedding, oops, I mean the website of your dreams!

About the Author

Claire Best is the founder of Claire Best Marketing. She’s on a mission to provide small businesses with great marketing. ”Just because you’re smaller doesn’t mean your marketing shouldn’t pack a punch!”

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