As a business owner, you know that one of the most important steps to starting your business is to design and develop a phenomenal website.
A website that will draw in your ideal client and keep your marketing funnels flowing. Constant Contact wrote an interesting article on why every business must have a website. That article can be found here. Unfortunately, most small business owners cannot afford to keep a website designer on staff. What can a small business owner do? Did you know a virtual assistant can help design, develop and maintain your website for or alongside you?
Website Design and Development Process
There is a definite process flow in the design and development of your business website. It can be an arduous (and expensive) task. However, if you find and contract with a Virtual Assistant that specializes in website design and management, you can cut-back on the aspirin! Many of today’s VAs provide website design, development and maintenance services.
6 Basic Steps to Website Design, Development, and Maintenance
Although every web designer may have different ways of designing and developing a business website, they all should include the following 6 basic steps:
- Information Assembly
- Testing and Delivery
Step One: Information Assembly
Information assembly is by far the most important of the 6 steps. To begin, you will need to be able to convey to your web designer/Virtual Assistant the following:
Purpose – What do you want your website to do for your business? Do you want it to sell a product or service or be a source of information?
Goals – What do you want to gain by creating this website?
Ideal Client – What are the demographics of your ideal client? A Virtual Assistant can help you create your client AVATAR. This will help determine the style of your website design.
Content – Based on your Ideal Client or Avatar — what type of information will resonate with them? This is the information you should include on your website.
Step Two: Planning
Once you and your Virtual Assistant have assembled the information in Step One, your next step is to create a “roadmap”, also know as a SITE MAP. Your sitemap determines what pages will be included on your site and also serves as a GPS, to help your visitors navigate through your website. Click the following link for more information on how a sitemap is used. What is a Sitemap?
During Step Two, your Virtual Assistant can assist you in determining which technologies will be used on your website. For example, what CMS (content management system) to choose and whether your business will need any contact forms or landing pages.
Step Three: Design
This is the step in the process that engages your (or your Virtual Assistant’s) creativity. The design determines the look and feel of your website. To decide the best look and feel for your website; you should revert back to your ideal client (created in Step One). At this step, you should ensure that the final design is what you had envisioned.
Step Four: Development
The developmental step is where the website is created. At this point, your Virtual Assistant will put the actual website together. Care will be taken to choose the correct CMS (content management system) as well as the inclusion of any contact forms for service-based businesses or e-commerce shopping carts for product-based businesses. After you have been given the opportunity to suggest additional tweaks or revisions, it is onto Step Five: Testing and Delivery.
Step Five: Testing and Delivery
At this point, your web designer VA will attend to the final details and test your website. This testing is critical to ensure that your site meets the current web development standards – such as cross-browser compatibility. Forms and other scripts’ functionalities will also be checked. An important test is to make sure that your website is “optimized” and can be viewed in different browsers; as well as on desktop and mobile devices.
Final details include plugin installation (for WordPress or other CMS driven websites) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public!
Step Six: Maintenance
Even though you have an awesome website, the development is not over.
In order to bring repeat and/or new visitors (aka clients) to your website, you will need to offer new content or products on a regular basis. Unless you will be handling your own updates and revisions, your Virtual Assistant can be a tremendous help in keeping your website looking great and behaving! Many Virtual Assistants offer maintenance packages. The pricing on these packages is based on how often you will be making changes or additions to your website.
If your small business needs a new (or a re-designed) business website; or help with maintaining your current website and you would like to collaborate with a professional Virtual Assistant who specializes in website design, website development, and website maintenance, IVAA offers a FREE RFP system. Simply post your requirements and our members will reply to you with a proposal. Click here to learn about submitting an RFP.
Karen Kannegiesser is an online business resource assistant with over three decades of C-suite level executive administrative and supply chain expertise. She has many years as a strategic MRO buyer for a large specialty chemical manufacturer, as well as an extensive background in database management, project management, contract administration, and business continuity/disaster recovery preparedness.www.LotusBusinessResources.com