archive web design

Building a new website: where do I start?

A short summary of key elements required to set-up a website for a start-up organisation.

Unless you are a web designer yourself, to build a website you will need to hire one or use an on-line companies that rent their server space with some web building software installed such as WiX. Before going for a second option I recommend you to read my blog entry about free website builders on-line.

As websites vary extremely in their content, complexity and purpose, it is not possible to set a fixed price and time frame for completing a certain project without proper research. As most designers’ base their charges on hourly rate, they need to know exactly what it takes to complete your website.

Some companies have fixed rates for their web design based on few standard features included in the package to name just a few:

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  • the number of static pages (e. g. about page, our services page, testimonials page etc)
  • the number of sliding banners/slides
  • whether there is a blog/forum or not
  • CMS based or static site
  • the number of contact forms
  • domain name and hosting charges
  • SEO charges


This approach is typical for big companies turning over hundreds of website per month. They can simply average the time spent on the website not caring too much if one or two projects goes way beyond the scheduled time. Hiring a designer for dedicated, bespoke website looks a bit different.

Most designers and design companies will ask you to fill the design brief, before giving you the estimate. Here are the main questions you may expect.

1. General information about your business

What is the nature of your business, products and services and the way you provide them – on-line, at premisses, at clients premisses etc.

USP – Unique Sales Proposition – crucial marketing information. What makes your organisation stand out from the crowd? What makes your business special and why people should buy from you? – helps to focus the design on the strong parts of your organisation and emphasize important elements of your offer.

2. The purpose of your website

Your website creates a direct channel of communication with your target audience. You must clearly set the goal your website aims to. Is it about increasing of footfall at your premisses, promoting a new product, selling on-line or multi-user portal – the approach to design will vary from strictly marketing purpose and meeting certain usability needs.

3. Target audience

This information tells the designer about your visitors preferences and taste. It helps connecting with your key group of customers, fulfilling their needs and inviting transactions. You must specify if they are young or mature, their social status, sex and wealth; learn what is the level of their knowledge of your product or service and how they buy it at the moment.

4. SEO keywords and descriptions

How will your potential clients find you on the web?

A most common is by typing in a search engine such Google a few keywords, such as ‘gardening in Oxfordshire’ or ‘web design in Wimbledon’, what are the keywords people will find you by?

Description is generally a short text [snippet] visible in a search engine or social media site under your website name. It summarizes your offer and gives people a trigger to clink on the link.

5. Budget and deadline

In the design field you usually get what you are paying for. Ideally, you should clearly state your budget and deadline to avoid delays and to get the best designers your money can buy. Unfortunately very often people simply don’t know how much those things cost as the prices of on-line services vary tremendously. If this time spent filling the design brief will pay back quickly.


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