Custom Website built quickly? Here are some tips to get it done right.

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A lot of people that come through the door at Rhino Marketing Group looking to get a custom website built in a hurry and yet they don’t quite know what it is that they want. In order to get your website built quickly there are some simple steps you need to take in order to speed up the workflow and get exactly what you want when working with your web designer.

Actionable Steps:
  1. Figure out your aesthetic
  2. Ask yourself what you’re realistically going to do with the site
  3. Figure out the best software platform for your goals & cost

Usually we spend the first phone call or meeting with our client explaining the different choices and approaches to a web site that a client has and they are usually overwhelmed with all the choices they are faced with.

If you need a custom website built fast – do your homework

If you’re really in a rush and need to get your business launched quickly there are a few steps you can take to really figure out exactly what you need before even meeting with a web designer. In addition to speeding up the actual production of the website this will also allow you to screen potential web design and development companies and be able to quickly rule out who isn’t a good fit.

If, for example, you are looking to build a strong company brand website and blogging isn’t important to you but you want a sleek, robust design then I’m not so sure I would recommend building a WordPress site. While WordPress is great for lots of applications, it also requires quite a bit of maintenance to stay hack-free and functional.

Step 1: Aesthetics or what’s it look like?
First thing’s first

The first thing you should be thinking about for your web design project is the look of the site. The aesthetics of your site are the ONLY thing that your visitors ever see. Over 99% of your website visitors won’t have a clue what’s controlling your site behind the scenes. They’ll just know if it looks professional.

Our recommendation is to always aim for the stars when it comes to aesthetics. Even if you’re just a freelancer you should look to the biggest players in your industry and see how they’re doing it. We do this all the time as a company.

If, for example, a pool-cleaner came to us really wanting to step up their pool-service business we would go straight to the industry leaders to see what they’re doing. We might check out the Leslie pools site, or look for national brands in the industry. Some industries don’t even have great designs even on the top level. In those cases we actually look to other industries.

When does that come up?

It’s actually surprising how many stores online for certain niche products don’t have any quality competitors in the space. Often times we get people who are selling a new product that doesn’t really fit into a defined genre and instead of looking at people who might be in competition we look to industries like fashion, industrial design, manufacturing to see the kind of design that might work for that industry.

Remember, your product or service deserves to look great. If you’re a real estate agent, why shouldn’t your site look as good as the realtor selling twenty million dollar homes? If you’re starting your own fashion brand why shouldn’t your site look as nice as Chanel? If you reach for the stars and fall short a little you’re still close – which is great.

Step 2: What are you really trying to do?

Most people don’t really take the time to think about their goals with a website. Are you trying to acquire new customers? Are you trying to build your brand? Are you trying to build an email list? Maybe the ultimate lead for you is a phone call – which is very different than someone filling out a contact form or signing up for a newsletter. One thing you should do though is define one clear, simple goal. What action do you want your audience to take?

Most people try to make their site everything for everyone and instead they end up appealing to nobody. The first thing you should do for this step is narrow your audience down as much as possible.

Get Specific!

Are they other business owners? Are they stay-at-home moms? Are they young? Older? Healthy and into fitness? Obsessed with technology? What gender are they? What do they like to do with their free time? What’s their average household income? Are they married? Divorced? Single?

The more you know about your audience the more you can tailor your site to fit their needs. Once you know who your audience is and what it is you’re trying to get them to do you’re in a much better place to communicate that with your web designer.

Taking what you know and relating it to your designer

Instead of telling your web designer that you want to “get more leads” you’ll be able to tell them “we’re trying to get business owners with 10-20 employees to call us. A phone call is the ultimate lead source for us.” That is so specific that I know, as a web designer, exactly what to do with that information. Get specific with your audience and specific with your goals and make sure that everything is pushing for that and you’ll be four steps ahead of your competition right off the bat.

Step 3. What Software should you use?

Most of the site we build at Rhino Marketing Group are built on WordPress. Partially because we work fast in WordPress and partially because it’s so versatile. WordPress started years ago as a simple blogging platform and has evolved to so much more. WE even build a lot of our ecommerce sites in WordPress now which was unheard of a few years ago.

There are lots of benefits to using wordpress but we, by all means, do not use it exclusively. WordPress tends to be a little heavy on load times and requires quite a bit of maintenance compared to some other solutions. We actually started using a great new platform called Webflow that includes great things like CDNs, security and built-in back-ups all at an affordable price. Webflow isn’t great for everything, nothing really is, but it’s another tool in our arsenal that is brilliant for the right clients.

What are you really going to be doing?

If you’re in a rush to get your site built properly chances are that you need to do so because you have other things in your business that are pressing. If that’s the case, you most likely won’t have a tremendous amount of time to blog, field comments on your blog, and make your site a living breathing marketing machine.

Or perhaps you’re an ecommerce site and you’re all about driving sales and you don’t plan on blogging. Are you products something that change often or have you been selling the same six products for the last ten years? Shopify is an amazing solution for the right client but is severely limiting in other ways that would be deal-breakers for other shop-owners.

A helpful checklist

Here’s a list of questions that I usually ask people for both ecommerce and non-ecommerce websites. Please note that if you only sell one or two products I would typically classify that as non-ecommerce but there are exceptions. I would recommend writing or typing up the answers to these questions before any meeting with a web designer regardless of how quickly you need your site built as it helps steer the conversation in a productive way.

No eCommerce:
  1. Are you going to blog?
  2. Are you trying to generate sales, leads or build an audience?
  3. How much time do you have that you could dedicate to maintaining your website?
  4. Do you have any employees that can manage the site for you?
  5. How much do you know about SEO?
  6. Are you quite active on social media and do you want that integrated into your site?
  7. Have you ever written blogs before?
  8. Are you comfortable making updates to your site (assuming you’ll be trained how to do this) or are you looking for the web designer to do those for you?
  9. Are there any sites on the internet already that you want to emulate and feel would have been perfect if they were designed for you?
eCommerce Sites:
  1. How many products are you selling?
  2. Do your products have a lot of variations like size, weight, color, etc?
  3. Do you sell retail, wholesale or both?
  4. How often do you get new products in?
  5. Do you need to keep track of your inventory on your website?
  6. Do you sell the same products online as you do in a store or outside of the internet?
  7. What shipping methods do you use?
  8. Do you intend on offering coupon or discount codes?
  9. Do you plan on selling downloadable products like eBooks or music?
  10. Do you need to have advanced features like emailing people who abandon their cart before checkout?
  11. Would you like to allow your customers to have a wishlist they can store?
  12. Do you offer any cross-sells or upsells for your products?
  13. Do you plan on doing any drop-shipping?
  14. Do you plan to sell your products to people on their cell phones or are more users people on their desktops?

These are the kinds of questions you should know the answers to instantly. Obviously the things that are a “no” can be left-out of a list for your web designer but all your “yes” answers should be stuff that you tell them you need.

It’s not that hard

I know it seems like there’s a lot of stuff to do on this list but it’s actually not that bad when you sit down to do it. If all you do was answer the checklist questions above you’d be in good shape and that shouldn’t take you more than fifteen minutes.

Just as a recap, here are those steps again to reframe everything into perspective.
Actionable Steps:
  1. Figure out your aesthetic
  2. Ask yourself what you’re realistically going to do with the site
  3. Figure out the best software platform for your goals & cost


Doing a little bit of homework before you meet with your web designer can literally save you thousands of dollars and weeks of development time and get you the site you want cheaper and faster.