Background on the topic of launching ‘the perfect’ websites
Over the years making websites for businesses and individuals, I have observed some common trends resulting from the desire to have it perfect before launch.
There’s this one time in 2016 where I had a website client who didn’t have a concrete idea of what he wanted. He simply wanted his business to go live. Even though he wasn’t sure about what he wanted, he took much time asking me to add this or remove that.
When he eventually felt sure, he did launch but quickly realised he still had to request for some features to be removed and for more features to be added.
I have also observed a similar trend in other website projects.
In the process of making a website, some clients overestimate the need for what they consider as the perfect list of website features. But their list mostly changes putting them in an endless circle that takes up valuable time during the website development phase.
The delay is not the issue, however, its his idea of perfect. There’s a factor you will need to consider.
Your website will evolve
Sincerely, you can hardly have all the variables in line as you start your business. Your business responds to the market by realigning itself several times for it to grow.
When your business changes to meet the market needs, you will obviously have to also iterate on how you present yourself online.
So that’s the idea. It’s better to launch fast to put yourself in a position to include and remove features as your market demands it. Let your website evolve.
The basic features of a website
By saying you should launch your website as early as possible and with as few features as possible, however, doesn’t mean you launch a website that doesn’t meet a few basic requirements.
Here is a list of the most important basic features of a business website:
- A landing page with a clear introduction to your business
- A detailed about page
- Your contacts and address information
- A list of main services or products
- Include your branding elements
- Be attractive and pleasing to interact with
- Be fast and user friendly
That is it! No need for complicated website features that don’t add value to your users.
Why your customers will visit your website
To stress the above list of website features is the most basic feature list you need before launch, ask yourself: what would website visitors want to see when they open my website? and not what features do I want for my website?
Below is a list of things people will want to do or see when they visit your website - Remember, you’re presenting yourself online for the first time and thus, some things won’t matter to them except these:
- Who are you?
- What’s your business all about?
- How can they contact you?
- What’s the impression you portray on them?
About the last point: Yes, people won’t really know they are looking for an impression. Yet, they will surely have some rating about you depending on how your website is presented. That is why the list of features includes your branding elements and user friendliness of the website.
While we are at it, let’s talk more about branding elements and user friendliness.
Important branding elements
Your company logo
Your company logo is very essential to your website. This symbol will always remind your website visitors what identifies you and will slowly be imprinted in their memories so that they can easily recognise your business next time.
I would like to emphasise the need for you to get a good logo designed. The logo should not only be pleasing to look at but it should also be simple and memorable.
The logo you get designed should also look nice in monochrome styles. For example, can your logo look distinguishable in black and white?
Your logo should also incorporate your brand colors and it should be unique.
In summary, below are the features of a good logo:
- include brand colors
Your company’s brand colors
Assuming your brand colors are already in place, we can just emphasise that those colors should be used in a balanced and attractive way.
Your company’s typography
Typography simply covers how you present your text. For example, the font types and font sizes.
The above three are the most important branding elements that you should get integrated into your website.
OK. We’re proceeding smoothly. Let’s look at user friendliness.
Features of a user friendly website
A user friendly website is very fast and easy to use. To ensure the speed of your website, you need to ask your developer to stick to best practices while making your website.
Also, avoid interrupting your website visitors with annoying popups and distracting ads.
Another very important user friendly website checklist item is responsiveness.
The term responsive website means that whether a user is accessing your website using a mobile phone, tablet or a computer, they don’t have to zoom in or out or scroll sideways to see content. It just works.
To touch on the brand colors and typography, those should be pleasing to look at for user friendliness to be achieved.
Since I love lists, let me try it one more time.
Features of a user friendly website:
- no popups
- no distraction
- no annoying ads
- mobile friendly, that is, responsive
- lightning fast
- excellent typography
- good colors
Why you don’t need a blog for your website when you start
Would you rather have your users click that blog link and be met by a blank page? Please don’t let that happen.
Add a blog link later, when you have something to share.
With time, you can even include a News section where you will post your press releases and so on. Until then, you don’t need that feature in your checklist.
What now? Just launch your website as soon as you have these basic elements in order. Don’t wait until you think is perfect before you launch since you will always have to iterate on the website features anyway. You will be adding more features and removing others as your business grows.
Launch your website today, then add features as your business grows.
Also check out the web developer checklist over at Toptal.