Thinking About Launching Your Brand Online? Read This Before You Start!
When it comes to building websites for emerging brands or individuals who are branding themselves, I have had my fair share. What is supposed to be a short-term, simple project, where I come on board to create a platform (websites most of the time) to sell products or to share ideas, turns into months upon months of back and forth and extra work that creates unexpected and inconvenient delays to the overall project and launch of the brand.
The scenario is often the same: Someone comes to me with an initial idea and figure that the website should pretty much be as easy as it just creating it. Sound good, right? WRONG!
In my experience, the one thing that kills a proper brand launch, especially if you have products to sell, is lack of a well thought out development process with all the things in place that are needed to create your website and launch your brand.
The only item you should have done impulsively and fairly fast should have been securing your domain(s). Everything else to follow should be done with meticulous care and attention.
Whether you decide to build the website yourself by using Wix, Shopify or you opt to hire a web developer (that would me), here’s a check-list of some things to help you prepare for a smooth process to an online brand launch:
Figure out a timeline and stick to it. As a developer this is the first question I ask my clients. This helps you and everyone else on your team figure out the amount of time will be needed to complete the project. It is also helpful so that you set some deadlines and stick to them. Keep in mind that when hiring 3rd parties they might charge more if they are working with a shorter timeline as it increases the amount of pressure they would be under. The same applies if you decide to cut costs by doing some of the work yourself. The difference is that it will cost you more of your time instead of money.
Decide on a budget. How much do you have set aside for your project? Think of every imaginable thing that could cost you and do your research! For example, if you use Shopify, adding extensions to your website to do certain things could get costly. Even if you are unsure you will need something, add it anyway. The last thing you want is to not have enough funds to cover your expenses.
Now that you have those 2 very important things figured out, let’s talk about the actual elements you will need to have in place to build your website or have it built for you:
Website Pages, especially the “About” page! This is important and should be the first thing that goes on your website, maybe even before you begin listing the products or services you plan to offer or sell. You need to be open about who you are or what your company is about. You can be as detailed and in-depth or as simple as you want to be. The point is to build trust between you and your visitors and ultimately position yourself as an authority in your field from the beginning.
Mission and vision statement (Optional) Absolutely necessary. I will write a separate blog on how this changed for me from being optional statement to an absolute necessity once I opened my business with an actual physical location.
All websites should have a contact form, and the emails gathered in that form should go to the person who will be managing them. Additionally, you will need to get emails copies of orders, or pretty much anything and everything that takes place on your website. Make sure these are email addresses you check frequently.
This is also very important and… most people forget about this!!! DO NOT even think about adding products or selling anything on your website if you do not have a way to get paid! PayPal is the easiest to set up payment gateway but it is certainly not the only one. Either way, there are several steps needed in order to integrate payment gateway(s) of your choice into your website. Some banks require more things than others, including SSL certificate, and additional pages such as “private policy” and “return policy” pages. Find out head of time!
Email marketing service information if you plan on using one.
Social media accounts.
If you plan on integration social media, whether it be a like box, buttons, share, etc, the accounts should already be created and in place! It is not the job of your developer or web designer to create social networks for your brand unless there is an agreement to do so.
I cannot stress enough having quality images to add to your website. Screenshots, fuzzy photos, collages…those are just not a good look for a professional website. If you do not have professional photos, or ones that look professional, you can use stock images in the meantime.
Now on to the products, this is very important if you plan on selling nutritional supplements!
Make sure they look good! Again, no screenshots or poorly designed product mock-ups are a complete fail.
Add as much information as you possibly can about your product. Include ingredients or supplement facts panel. The more detailed the better! Note: Your developer or web designer is not responsible for coming up with your product details!
In my experience, this is one of the biggest oversights when it comes to launching a brand. Not only do you need to set up a price for your shipping but you need to figure out where you will be shipping to and what your shipping method will be (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.).
Last but not least, you must have a marketing plan! Most people build their websites and sit around in hopes to start getting sales by some sort of miracle. It doesn’t work that way. How do people find something they don’t know even exist? This is when you kick in your marketing plan and utilize your social media as a means to reach your audience. Learn how to create FB ads, how to use Instagram, take advantage of Twitter, etc.
Depending on your skill level with marketing, you can begin using google analytics and FB ads by inserting codes or asking your developer to do it for you, into your website that will help you analyze, create and reach audiences for better ROI. I also recommend checking out this article I shared to help you further with your online business.
If you have these things in order, your idea, from concept to launch, should be a smooth transition. And don’t forget to always keep the lines of communication open between all the members of your team!
Interested in consulting with me? Contact me here.