Annemarie Atema: 'Tips (for beginners) for creating a website'

I can still see myself. Years ago, at a former employer. I was in talks with a party to build an intranet. The contract had been signed. We agreed on the price and they were going to do the job. I thought.... Nothing turned out to be less true. I got all sorts of tough questions. What is the purpose of this intranet? What message do you want to convey? Are employees allowed to post their own content? And so it went on and on. Gee, I wasn't waiting for that. They were supposed to do the job, right? Well no, I had to answer the "basic questions" first.

Perhaps you recognize this. On a beautiful day you think "I want a website", you call a company you've read good reviews about (yes, you don't rush into anything), you ask what a website costs ("no, you don't have to be very elaborate, just info about the organization and our phone number) and you're done. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Therefore a few tips (for beginners) for creating a website.

1. Determine the purpose of your site

Are you going for a digital flyer? Purely providing information with your company's phone number as the only CTA (Call to Action)? Or are you going for a site that goes many steps further? Do you want to share knowledge? Generate new customers? Engage people with your brand? Is your site regularly refreshed with new input? Do you want to map the search behavior of your visitors so that you can anticipate this on your next visit? Etc etc.

There is a world of difference between the two versions. Nor is it one or the other. There are also various intermediate forms. The fact is that you really need to think about this carefully. Don't do this alone, involve others to avoid tunnel vision. And above all, think from the customer's point of view. What is his/her problem and how can I help?

Annemarie Atema: 'Tips (for beginners) for creating a website'


2. Responsive

Of course you want your site to be responsive. Comes across well when you casually mention this to your 'web builder' ("Woow, he knows his stuff"). A responsive site means that the site automatically adapts to the screen on which it is displayed (laptop, mobile, tablet, etc.). So the layout adapts automatically and the site is always easy to read. Whether you opt for a digital brochure or a full blown website, I would say always do it. If the web builder says this is not necessary or difficult to incorporate, quickly call another.

3. Appearance

Your site is a reflection of your organization. In short, a super cool site with a high tech look is not consistent with an organization whose people themselves are not nearly as cool and whose products are not high tech. These last two facets are not a negative value judgment about your organization. What I mean is: radiate with your website what you stand for. No more (or just a little) and certainly no less.

4. Tone of voice

Do you address your (potential) customers with you and you or do you go for you? Do you choose approachable language or do you prefer to keep it more formal? Whatever you choose, keep this consistent. Make sure your content is edited so that one style is used.

5. Site management

The site stands like a house. Party on going live! Great plans, everyone agrees, it's going to be really good, we're going to update the site regularly! And then? When making your plans and setting goals, realize that your site needs to be maintained. If you want to do it right, this is not just something fun to do "on the side. Make sure there is someone (or several people) who are responsible and will take responsibility. Do not take this lightly. Form a team of really enthusiastic people.

So much for 5 "basic tips. Having been involved in building several sites, I can say that I have become wise by trial and error. So are all the sites I am involved in optimal? No, definitely not. But that's also the beauty of online. It provides the opportunity to improve (usually quite easily). Changes in the online world are also rapid. At NOM, we launched a new site just over three years ago. We are currently working on 2.0. We are starting all over again: What is the purpose of the site? What do we want to achieve with it? Advancing insights lead to new plans! Good luck with your plans!