How To Turn Your Site Idea Into a Finished Website: 8 Important Steps You Need To Consider
The eCommerce industry is one of the fastest growing industries globally today. The global eCommerce industry is a $1.5 trillion dollar industry according to the latest estimates (2015). Considering the industry is still growing at a very fast pace and more people are getting online, the eCommerce industry shows no signs of slowing down. The industry’s potential presents very many unique opportunities. For instance, you can start your own online business from home provided you have a computer and a good internet connection.
It is, however, important to note that being a successful online business owner is easier said than done. Very many people have great online business ideas however, very few turn them into finished websites (finished online businesses). If you’re interested in knowing how to go about turning your idea into a finished website, look no further. Below is a detailed discussion highlighting the steps you need to take.
Are your solving a problem that makes sense?
Every website starts with an idea. Before you start building your website, you need to answer these basic but very important questions that will help you assess the validity of your idea;
What is your product/service about?
Every website offers a certain product or service to its visitors and different products and services solve different problems. When identifying a suitable product or service to offer with your website, think of the problem you are attempting to solve, your solution to that problem as well as your audience.
What action do you want your users to take?
This is another important question you should consider asking yourself if you’re keen on turning your online business idea into a finished website. This question helps you design a website that helps you achieve your site goals perfectly. For instance, do you want your website visitors to sign up, become subscribers, download content, buy services/products? There are all kinds of website building tools for achieving any site user outcome you can imagine. You must, however decide what you want your website visitors to do when they visit your site and craft mechanisms for making sure it happens before you start building your website.
Breakdown your site into different components
Let’s face it! Websites are very complex. It is, therefore, important to break down your site into many small components if you are keen on having an easier time building and finishing your site. You can break down your site into 4 main parts namely;
- The 1st fold: This part focuses on everything your users see when they 1st visit your site. The 1st fold encompasses everything that has to do with the first impression of the site i.e. the site’s pitch, image/s, theme as well as a proper call-to-action to prompt the desired action from site users.
- How the site works: Now that you have gotten your user’s attention with a good 1st impression and gotten them interested by describing their problem/s, it’s time to tell them how you are going to solve their problems. Since sites are very complex, it’s very important to determine how your site will work separately because you give site functionality the attention it deserves.
- Building credibility: You also need to think about making your site credible. Having a site that attracts visitors and works perfectly isn’t enough if the site doesn’t have credibility. Website credibility is crucial since it’s what makes people trust your site and place orders for the product/s or service/s you are offering. You need to think of how you will collect testimonials from your users, showcase reviews and success stories from your users as well as any other positive PR attention you receive.
- About information: A good site also needs to have a good story of the founder, their team, mission, vision, goals, contact information among other important info. About information is very important because it creates a stronger connection between users and site owners. Your website visitors are more likely to support you if they know who you are, your vision, mission, goals etc.
Once you have the above parts, your site idea will be a step closer to becoming a finished website. You just need to make sure you build all the above parts of your site to completion. You can use readily available tools online like germ.io which have pre-thought templates to help you build all the above components of your site fast and easy.
Breakdown your planning & development process
Site building entails meticulous planning and development. To be able to track your site planning and development process effectively, you need to break the entire process into small tasks which can be tracked easily. Luckily, there are free and fun tools like Trello that make this process easy.
Write user stories
A user story can be defined as a discrete description of the task/s a person can perform with your website. User stories help to clarify the thoughts of a website owner. The stories give you concrete information to discuss with web designers and developers among other stakeholders of your site i.e. your potential visitors, investors etc. User stories are easy to write. They should be composed of two things namely; the kind of person (it can be a subscriber, new visitor etc.) and the task that person should be able to do; As a<person>I can<do something>
For instance, logged-in users/subscribers should be able to access their profile information as well as other parts of a site that non-subscribers can’t access. User stories are important because they show you how you should think about your site’s features and functionality.
Create a use case model
After writing user stories, you can proceed and create a use case model whose aim is to help you visualize the user stories you have written. Visualizing user stories is important because it makes it easier to understand and implement those stories.
Create an activity diagram
You also need an activity diagram to show you all the different paths your site users can take while on the site.
Build your prototype
Once you have a case model and an activity diagram, you can proceed and build your prototype site. You can do this on your own using free site prototyping software or pass over the task to your web developer/designer. The aim of the prototype is to show you how the site will look like and function. It’s also easier to modify site prototypes than work on code. Prototypes also help you identify site flaws early. If you’re keen on finishing your website, you really need to consider this step.
Polish and release
Once you have a prototype working, it’s very easy to proceed. You can hire a web designer/developer at this point to turn your prototype site into a fully functional site. A web designer will be in a better position to determine the technologies you need to build your site if you are not a web designer yourself. Since a prototype site lets you know if your site idea has potential and you also get to identify site flaws early, finishing your site shouldn’t be a problem going forward.
Most people have problems turning their ideas into finished websites because they fail to simplify the process. When you break down your website idea into small manageable and systematic steps like the ones discussed above, you shouldn’t have a problem turning your idea into a finished site. Furthermore, there are very many free, fun, effective and user-friendly site building tools available online today.
Philip Agyeman-Budu founder and CEO of Authentic Imaging LLC, has for the past 7 years had the chance to work with highly reputable companies and helped with several online start-up companies.