New year. New site?
There’s something about the start of a new year that definitely inspires people.
A fresh start with renewed enthusiasm, new goals and resolutions!
And that is why so many businesses start to think ‘new year equals new website’.
For some, the Christmas break provides an opportunity to take a step back, take stock and think about the future and the bigger picture.
So for those business owners, marketeers and pioneers out there, we have created these
10 questions for you to mull over to get you ready for what lies ahead in 2018.
These pointers will help you and your design team to not only plan, but to define and achieve
your online success.
#1What is the main purpose of the website?
Is your website just there simply to provide information about your business or is it promoting your product, shop? Do you want to get more bookings, or even to sell tickets?
Do you view your website as an essential part of your business or is it simply a place to provide information on the company.
It might not be a business at all! Perhaps it’s an event, community or charity you’re looking to raise awareness about. Whatever the reason, it’s important to have clarity on what is the one single main purpose for the website.
#2What do you want the website to achieve?
This will help you understand the ‘why’ over the ‘what’ and help your design team to be in a stronger position to make recommendations.
For example, is the main purpose for your website to provide information about the business or to position yourself in the market place, together with establishing credibility and trust.
#3What defines success?
What defines success for you? Would success be if delivered on budget by a certain date? Or do you view other factors such as number of hits, repeat visitors and time spent on site as success?
Are you looking for your rankings to improve, your user feedback to be more positive? Or for your database to grow, and your enquiries to double, resulting in increased sales.
Set yourself clear measurable goals from the beginning. For example, I would like to increase sales by 10% by month 3, or have 25,000 subscribers by the end of year one.
These are just a few of the ideas we suggest you think about. But, it is always better to focus on one idea at a time. It makes design choices and split testing more effective to have one clearly defined objective.
#4How will they find you?
You do need to take into consideration that offline activity is likely to play a more influential part than the website itself. People won’t drive past your website! You need to signpost people to your website from other sources.
A mix of online and offline marketing activity is essential to drive people TO your website. Even if it’s the BEST WEBSITE EVER, a co-ordinated launch is needed to get the right people talking
But there is a reason why E-bay advertise on billboards and why Google
send you stuff in the post.
#5What is your budget?
When we start to work with you, we will always ask you what budget do you have. However, for you to ask us how much a website will cost is like asking how much will it cost to build a house! The cost of your new website will always depend on what options you wish to include.
Please bear in mind that it is important to have a figure in mind that you know you would be happy to spend. Having a new website built is an investment. More important, you should consider the value of your website to your business. Don’t necessarily view the investment of a new website as an overhead, an expense. View it as an amazing opportunity to connect with your existing and potential clients which in turn will establish long term relationships.
Also remember to allocate a little extra in your budget for promoting your website.
#6If you are redesigning your website, why are you changing it?
Was it something your last website did to upset you? Perhaps your current website doesn’t seem as attractive as it used to. Or could it be that your business is into new things now? Maybe you’ve just grown apart.
Change is good. Websites change all the time. They should constantly grow and evolve to adapt to things like user behaviour, technology, search engine algorithms and the law. Popular reasons for change include:
• The need to make the website work better on a mobile
• The desire to sell products online
• Making it easier to edit and add new content yourself
Discussing these points not only ensures the new website ticks the boxes but also helps us anticipate things to consider in the future.
#7Who is your audience?
How you approach this question will dependent on whether you wish to have a new website or to simply just redesign it, and whether it is a new business or an established one. If it is new there will be a bit of guessing. If it is established, you will have all the existing data to work with and existing customers to ask.
But either way that is just the start. There is a difference between knowing who your audience is and really understanding what type of people they are. Nowadays, it isn’t good enough just to know that they are certain types of businesses in certain areas.
Always consider who is visiting your website. What are their ages, interests, hobbies, favourite brands? Once you understand the type of people using your website, you and your design team can make more informed choices on the design and delivery of content.
#8What do they want?
Once you have a clear understanding of who your target audience is you can really focus on their needs. What are they looking to do or find on your website?
This is very important when it comes to delivering what the audience wants. You can design your content and navigation around it. The clarity makes designing landing pages incredibly simple.
Never assume. If you have existing analytics data, we can use this, alongside surveys, to help figure this out. If it is a new business then do some online research. Ask on Facebook and LinkedIn or create a survey on Survey Monkey.
Working with your design team, you can sculpt the user flow and experience to suit. You will likely be rewarded for this through sales and search rankings.
#9Could your website be a campfire?
Bet you’ve never heard that question before!
Think about the community you serve. If your company installs boilers then fab. Business info, check. Boiler service booking functionality, check. But how about we add some useful content about safety or energy advice?
Imagine you sell camping products. Super! Publish a blog, add videos, provide value for free. Your website could thrive from adopting a content-first approach.
Provide the campfire for people to gather around. Build a community and recommend products to an engaged audience.
#10What other websites do you admire?
Knowing what your competitors offer and what you admire about their websites is a very powerful and efficient way to understand your website aspirations from a visual and user experience point of view.
Why spend hours writing a design brief. A few example visuals with notes will get us onto the same page. If you are not sure about how to do this, that is perfectly ok. Your design team will have a short conversation with you and then recommend some sites that may be up your street!
Designing a new website should be a creative and satisfying project that you can really enjoy.
We’ve created a pdf that you can download for free.
You can complete it in acrobat, print it off and fill it in, or just use it as a guide.