If there’s one mistake we see new business owners make it’s wasting money on a website that doesn’t do its job. Many start their own business and jump to the conclusion that they needed a website up and running yesterday.

It’s important to plan and understand exactly what you want AND what you need so that you can have a website that is clean, responsive and generates leads.

I’ve put together a quick list of five things to consider before building a website:

1. Budget

What sort of money do you have to spend? Shop around and get a few quotes. Or, if you’re feeling up to it, find a WordPress developer on Upwork who can customise a template for you and have your website running within a few days.

2. Responsive

Will you have people visiting your website from their smartphone or tablet? The answer to this is almost certainly “yes”! This means you need to have a responsive website that automatically adjusts depending on the screen size, no matter what device your website is viewed on.

Google has this fun tool which let’s you check to see if your website is mobile friendly and leaves you with helpful instructions on what you can do to improve your website. A responsive website is favoured by Google as a result of the amount of people now surfing the web using their smart phones.

3. Content management system

When shopping for a website you need to understand what platform it will be built on. Is it one that you will be able to make changes to and update further down the track? Or is it a CMS you have no control over which leaves you having to rely on developers for the slightest change?

For small business owners I recommend WordPress.org as it is easy to use and update. You’re able to add new plugins, create your own blog posts and have choice and control around the future of your website.

4. Call to action

Many people get caught up in the look and feel of their website, which is important, although what is just as important is having calls to action included in your content. A CTA will specifically tell people what you want them to do while visiting your website. A CTA can be a link, button or graphic, which leads that person to a landing page where they’re able to enter their details in return for something of value.

5. Lead generation

Do you have plans on growing your email list? When creating your website you also need to build landing pages which convert your viewers into subscribers. Landing pages allow people to enter their details and in return receive something for free (we call this an opt in). Your opt in could be an instructional guide, video series or something else your audience may find valuable. Just having a contact page isn’t enough, you need your opt in to be one of the focal points of your website.

Building a website takes time and planning, you should be really clear on what it is you actually need and always have your ideal client in mind during the creation and testing process.