When you decide to have a new website created you need to be prepared for the experience and take an active role in its design and development. Here at enflexion we can assist you in answering many of these questions, but you should do some initial thought yourself to understand what it is you require.
When you first see an enflexion consultant, they will discuss many of these questions with you and help identify both a strategy and tactics to achieve through your new website!
Designing a website that get results takes time and the best results are gained where you are fully involvedand prepared in the process. The following outlines ten things you should think about and prepare when designing your new website!
1) What objectives does the website need to meet?
Many people consider a website is an expense that must be accepted, and they rarely actually calculate what the return on the investment a website must meet. Whether the website provides online sales, or is a showcase of your services to increase & support sales activities, the website must have clear objectives to be met.
Common website objectives are:
- To raise awareness of the products and services of your company;
- To sell XX products per month;
- To support the sales and marketing campaign
Obviously you need to come up with your own objectives, but remember when setting objectives try to make them achievable.
2) How will you measure the objectives?
On an ongoing basis you should actually measure the success of your website. Some good ideas for measuring the success of the site are:
- Client Referral Information – Capture where your new client’s heard about you from I.E the website, a referral etc;
- Web Statistics – View your usage statistics and look for page visits, unique visitors etc
- Survey – Ask your clients what they liked about your website or didn’t like
A good website should help sell for you and should be updated with new fresh content that adds value to your clients on a regular basis.
3) Who are the users that will come to visit your site?
One of the single most important things you need to know is who are your users and what types of content they actually require. It is not just about what the companies the user’s will come from but what the demographics of the users are. Things like:
- Age Group;
- Education level;
- Technical Level of expertise with the Internet and your products or services.
Then the question we at enflexion ask is:
What are the questions that user’s will have when they visit your site and how will you answer the questions?
By understanding who your user’s are means that we can design a site that actually meets their needs. It’s important to recognize that sometimes you may actually be too close to your own company and you may need to think like a customer and use language and answer questions that seem very obvious.
4) How will the user’s find your website?
There are a couple of ways that users will find your website and this will very much depend on what types of promotion you do of your website and services.
The three most common ways that people will find you are:
- Search Engine Listings;
- Referrals by current or past clients; and
- Through you telling them about the site.
5) How will you promote and market your website?
Carrying on from how the users will find your website is how you will promote your website. You might think of your website as a twenty four hour, seven day a week electronic extension of your office. There are a couple of easy ways to promote your website and these include:
- Search Engine Optimisation;
- Putting your website address on all of your marketing material;
- Direct Marketing via post or email; and
Another great way of promoting your website is to share content with other websites, articles, case studies and other value added content is a great way of driving traffic to your site.
6) Who will be creating the content for your website in the first instance?
Probably the most time consuming part of developing a new website is the creation of the content. This stage can take weeks to complete and can be quite difficult.
If you are part of a larger organisation you may have many people writing content for the site, which can be both a time saving and time consuming exercise.
If you are a sole trader then you can either write the content yourself or enflexion can assist in finding a copy writer to prepare the content.
The trick with website content is:
Less is more
Most users on the web do not read word for word, instead they tend to scan the page for headings, dot points and images that interest them or answer their questions. You donï¿½t need to be totally exhaustive in what your website says, just give the user the gist of the message and a way for them to find out more information.
7) How often will you be able to update the content and will you have other people providing and managing content?
A good website should be updated with new fresh content on a regular basis. For many organisations this can be difficult to achieve, especially since you are in business to make money and not to manage a website.
As a general rule you should try and update at least a couple of things on your website every couple of weeks. But this does not have to be a huge process. You could update information in a news section of your site such as:
- A new client has signed up with you;
- You have completed a major project;
- A project milestone has been completed; etc.
Even small amounts of new content make the site appear vibrant, but donï¿½t forget to include the date of the update so people can actually see that the site has been updated!
Set a plan for updating the site
The best way to get the most out of your site is to make yourself a plan of content changes, and if you have staff to assign them tasks. Things like:
- Monthly : New News Items
- Quarterly : New article on XYZ
- Half Yearly : Update the main marketing image (if your have one of your website)
- As required : Press releases, awards won, new clients etc.
8) What other websites do you like and why?
When we start the design process of a new website we often ask you what websites you like, and then why you like them.
This is a good way for us to get an understanding of the sort of site you want, whether the site is graphic intensive, or minimal and understated.
We donï¿½t copy another site’s design, but it is a great way for us to focus on your visual requirements.
So at the very least identify five website you like the look of and write down some of the reasons why you like the site!
9) Who are your competitors and what do they provide on their websites?
Another very important aspect of setting up a new website is to review on a high level what your competitors websites look like and do. When undertaking some competitive analysis ask yourself:
- What does this site do well?
- What does this site do badly;
- Are their any things that all your competitors do on their websites that you will need to do on your website?
The objective of this is to ensure initially your site matches the offerings of your competitors, but also so your site can exceed what they do.
10) What sort of functionality do you need on your website?
The last and most important question that you need to ask is what sort of functionality you need to have on your website. Or put another way what does your website need to do?
The functionality can include but is in no way limited to:
- Shopping Cart for online product sales;
- User Forums for customer discussions;
- Contact Forms;
- Mailing List managers;
- Capturing of user data.
This is no way a full list of what functionality your website should have, and often you will have your own unique functional needs.
Designing a website that get results can take time to complete and the best results are gained where you are fully involved and prepared in the process.