Your business is looking to have a new website built but you’re a little unsure as to where you should start and what you ought to be considering in terms of both the site itself and also in terms of selecting a web designer to build it for you. Well hopefully this article will prove to be useful and help provide an educated insight.
In my opinion, there are a number of crucial factors that you should be considering, or at the very least your web designer should be considering on your behalf and questioning you about.
It’s important to stress that these are elements which should be considered before anyone starts designing the look and feel of your website. Considering and delivering answers to the following items are the factors that need to be the driving force behind your new website. Ultimately they are the factors which will provide your return on investment. The way it looks and the way it feels comes in afterwards, they are still important factors but ones which should be designed in a manner that incorporates and executes your objectives from the following:
A website can play many different roles for your business from attracting new customers to keeping existing customers engaged. You may be looking to generate new leads through your website or you may be looking for your site to be an ecommerce platform to actually sell your products through directly.
By defining from the outset what you wish to accomplish from your website it should influence the information and type of content which is provided on it.
Outlining your objectives may also provide you with a particular attribute as a means to measure the success of your website over time. i.e. if the objective is to generate leads then the number of times an enquiry form is submitted could act as a gauge as to whether any marketing activity or search optimisation is being effective or not. Over time you can use this gauge to hone your marketing strategy.
Identifying your target market / audience is another important step in considering the content, tone and visual style of your website.
If it’s a business to business audience then you’ll want to reflect your professionalism throughout the site, if your target audience is older you’ll want to portray this in your tone and visual styles, equally if it’s younger you’ll want to reflect it. For example if you were building a website around connecting single travellers looking for other people to travel with a younger audience is more likely to be interested in the ‘excitement’ of travelling where as an older audience may well be more engaged by the ‘cultural’ element of travelling. A subtle difference but one that will help connect with your audience.
Identifying your audience and selecting your tone can have a huge impact on the success of your website.
The structure of your website and its navigation should be as shallow as possible making it easy to quickly pick out the important site sections whilst ensuring search engines are easily able to reach all of your website’s content without becoming ‘stuck’ in one branch of your website.
Providing plenty of cross linking between pages on your lower layers of navigation also plays a great role in aiding search engines and human visitors alike to reach all of your content, which leads to a greater engagement with audience and improved rankings by search engines… which in turn will lead to more visitors.
Having a website is great but unless you are attracting visitors to it then it’s not really going to add much value to your business and you’re not going to see any return on your investment in it.
Hopefully it goes without saying that the more traffic you have to your website the more likely it is that your business will generate a greater number of leads, clients or sales and therefore will hopefully be making more profit. But how are you intending to drive traffic to your new website?
Another extremely important item to consider if you’re building a new website to replace your existing one is:
What do I mean by this?
Well let me start off by saying, if you are a new start up business for example and you’ve never had a website before then this isn’t relevant to you.
But, if you already have a website for your business it is likely you’re thinking that by having a new and improved website you will get more value and more traffic from search engines because you already receive X amount of visitors each month. So surely by improving your website it will only lead to better search engine rankings and more visitors to your website right?
Well, let me make it clear, if the transfer over from your existing website to your new website isn’t implemented correctly then this will not be the case and in fact it could well be the cause for you to lose traffic to your website and to, in fact, not rank as highly in the search engines is you once did with your old website.
Why is that I hear you ask!… well it’s because of how search engines see and rank your website pages.
This is such an important item to consider when having a new website built that I have written another blog, How Building A New Website Can Destroy Your Search Engine Rankings, specifically explaining the technicalities of the matter as simply as possible, but feel free to continue reading on for now!
I believe that ensuring the value within an existing website isn’t lost is a critical factor that far, far too many web designers completely omit from their site development process, particularly at the lower end of the web design spectrum. Why is this? Well it is my belief that it happens for a number of reasons:
So if you’re looking to have a new website built and were wondering what you should be considering, and how you’re going to find a suitable web designer to undertake the work then hopefully this article has provided you with plenty of food for thought and perhaps given you an idea of the type of thought process you’d like to be hearing from anyone you approach to undertake the work.
If you’d like to speak to myself about any project I’m always happy to discuss your requirements, provide some input or just help point you in the right direction without any obligation. So feel free to get in touch with me.
Simply put, if you can’t monitor the statistics your website is capable of delivering to you, you can’t analyse how well the various sections of your marketing strategy or sales funnel are performing. You have no way of measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
One of the greatest problems a client has when determining the budget they wish to allocate to building a new website is they have no real understanding of what a website is likely to cost. Much like buying a car you can spend a couple of hundred pounds or hundreds of thousands of pounds on the most exotic Ferrari in the showroom. Knowing what you are looking for helps you know your budget.
Maintenance and support is essential in running a successful website for your business. It is a critical requirement a for your website, the internet isn’t always a cordial place, more and more regularly we see on the news how large websites, even banking websites, are maliciously hacked. Make sure yours isn’t one.
Engaging with your customers through the modern digital channels, and most importantly through your website, is the key to making your website successful. If you think about traditional offline marketing methods one of the main elements is networking, speaking to people… your website is no different.
Identifying your target audience helps you connect with their mindset and in doing so view your service through their eyes. When you do this you can look at your service or product differently to the way you see it as the service provider or seller.
SSL has long been a fundamental element of ecommerce stores, strangely though SSL hasn’t really become a mainstream characteristic of ‘day-to-day’ websites. Moving forward however that is going to change, in fact it already is beginning to and it’s the perfect opportunity to get ahead of your competitors.