Building a website? Not sure where to start? Here are useful research ideas to help you get a great website.

If you haven’t built a website before, it can be hard to know where to start. A good idea is to start with a little research. Here’s a few ideas of things to look for.

Have a look at similar businesses for good ideas

Look for ideas for your website by looking at the websites of similar businesses. A good idea is to start with review posts which have say the ‘top 10’ of a particular business in a particular city. For example, if you are a hairdresser, search for ‘top hairdressers in Sydney’ which will bring up a number of review posts like this one. Follow the links in the review posts to the leading businesses so you can see what the best are doing on their websites. See something you really like? Take a screenshot or copy the link to the website to send to your Vivid team member to help inform your site design. See something you really don’t like? That’s a good thing to take note of too!

Tip: Keeping it simple is good. Try to pick only one or two elements or ideas to set the tone of the website, rather than packing it full of features.

Have a look at your competitors’ websites.

It’s always a good idea to know what your competitors are up to generally, but when looking at their websites you want to think about what it is about your business that makes it different. Do you offer a service they don’t? Can you build something into the website they currently don’t offer, like an easy online quote or booking service? Do you cover an area they don’t? Whatever you do that they don’t, you want to have prominently placed on the home page of your sites

Tip: make sure the colours and images you use on your website make it visually different from your competitors existing websites. If you think your logo is too similar to a competitor, ask Vivid about a brand refresh.

Check for websites with similar names to yours.

Vivid will help you acquire an appropriate domain name (the www. bit that goes in the address bar), but often there are other businesses with very similar names already on the web, and you might want to take that into account. A simple Google search for variations of your business name will help you identify:

A very similar business with a very similar name, operating in a different area, in which case you may want to consider prominently noting your operation area on the website and in the description of the website that appears in search engines.

A very similar named business that does something very different, in which case the services should be prominent in the description that appears in search engines.

A similar named website that does something you would not want to be associated with, such as a pornography site or website promoting terrorist acts, in which case Vivid can discuss with you your options.

Additionally, what might have worked fine for you offline may not work so well as you transition online. For example, let’s say the name of your business is Stark Accounting Services and you have frequently shortened it to SAS. That isn’t going to work in the online world where SAS has military and many other meanings, and every variation of SAS is already taken! But Stark Accounting works great. Vivid can help you adjust your offline and online to be brand consistent and effective.

Tip: You don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater! If your first choice of domain name is not available, you don’t need to change your business name. There are lots of options, and Vivid will help you find something that works.

The important thing to remember is that your website is yours, and it should be a reflection of you. So, while looking at other websites to get ideas is a great place to start, your website in the end will be all about you and what you have to offer your customers. It doesn’t have to be complex or have lots of bells and whistles – just tell them who you are, what you do, where to find you, and how they can contact you.

Dr Raphaella Crosby

Research, Policy Development, and Communication Strategy

Founder and Principal, Kore Communication | Strategy | Research

Founder, Migraine Australia