3 October 2017 - Richard Shire
Getting your website online and live can be a really exciting experience, whether you are new in business or in need of a new website to represent your growth or re-branding, the website is the shop window and seeing it up there, on the World Wide Web, makes it all seem real.
In all this excitement though, there is the danger that you will rush into the task without having complete clarity. This is a mistake that can be costly, both in terms of time and money. To help you get clear, we have listed the top 5 questions you should ask yourself before you begin to design your website.
These are specific and might be different to your overall business goal. Another way of approaching this question is what do you want your website to achieve? You need to be as particular as possible here, it might be tempting just to say something ambiguous like ‘grow my business’ or ‘make more money’ but how? Are you going to inform, educate or make online sales? Understanding the core purpose of your website will drive the entire strategy and design process.
A key mistake in business is a misunderstanding of the target audience. Many businesses are worried about excluding potential clients and try to design websites and write copy that appeals to everyone. When you do this though, you end up resonating with no one. Your customer wants to feel understood and valued, to do this you have to design your entire marketing strategy with them at the centre of it. This helps to attract people, convert them into customers and keep them as long term clients.
Think about your client as a human being, imagine who they are, what they do, who they live with, what they love, what they hate, what are their pain points?
Having clarity on your ideal customer before you start the website design process is very powerful because ‘they’ will begin to inform your decisions. The result is a website that really appeals to the people you want to reach.
There are lots of different elements to a website and a variety of ways you can invite interaction. You might have an end-goal of purchasing a product but it is worth remembering that many potential clients will need several visits to your site to gain enough trust to actually make a purchase.
If not everyone will buy something automatically how else can they interact? Your goal is to get the opportunity to build upon the relationship so ideally, you want them to either sign up to your newsletter, opt in to a lead magnet or follow you on social media.
Knowing how you want to direct people will help you in the design process. It is important that the journey of your ideal client is kept in mind as you put together your entire marketing strategy which your website is just one part of. Consistency across platforms helps to develop a sense of trust and reliability.
As your website is such an integral part of your brand, being clear of how you want to be seen is very valuable. Your website represents your business in such a powerful way and unlike social media platforms; you have COMPLETE control over it so why waste this opportunity.
One way to do this is to list 5 words that you would like people to use if describing your business. These words should then inform design decisions and be included within the copy. If you are already in business then it would be an interesting research task to ask your current clients or those in your network how they would describe you and comparing the results with the list you made yourself. This is a great way to ascertain if you are getting your message across.
Building a website is complex, you can get templates that are easy enough to navigate but if you are serious about your business then you want to make sure that your website does everything you need it to do and it performs well. This takes more than the ability to use a template; it takes an understanding of SEO, of design principles and digital marketing. Even if you are confident in these areas then you still might want to outsource elements of the build or copy.
When you are deciding what support you need, remember to play to your strengths and focus on doing what you love if you don’t find web design excites you or plays to your natural skills then finding a professional to support you is vital.
It is also important that you consider the potential sensitivity of the data you will be dealing with on your website. If you are collecting customer information, you owe it to your customers to ensure that you are keeping it safe. Are confident that you could employ the tools to do this effectively yourself? If not then getting help is not only preferable but necessary.
Here at Aspire Shire, we build websites for businesses with one clear objective; to create conversions. We know that making sales and increasing profit is what most business owners are focused on, so we are too! Contact us to book an initial call with us to discuss how an investment in us will earn you more money than you spend.