04 Feb 20
8 Things To Think About Before Getting A Website
You’ve finally decided, you’re ready for a website, maybe with a gentle nudge from your business mentor, or a simple case of peer pressure – in the age of digital, it almost seems mandatory for any brand that wants to make it (as of January 2020, there were 1,744,517,326 websites in the world).
Whilst pretty standard, there’s still a few things you need to consider BEFORE you start the process. We’re going to ask you the questions to get the all-important answers. As cliche as it is, it’s up to you (and your team) to unearth these nuggets of gold.
Having these answers and foresight early on, will save you from the unforeseen heartache of blown-out budgets or convoluted user journeys in a malnourished end result. You wouldn’t go on a hike without having a good idea of the terrain or proper hiking shoes, so don’t dive into getting a website without adequate preparation.
As a conversion-driven web agency, we love unpacking this process with our clients – we’ve seen our fair share of clients that didn’t do this previously and were burnt from it. Designers and developers are your creative specialists, but the end result is extremely dependent on a clear brief and proper planning.
As we love to say and do, measure twice, cut once.
1. What is the primary purpose for your website?
Your website requires 1-2 clear goals, and it’s important to define them so that design and development decisions can prioritise them. You might say – “ I want my website to do it all, it needs to make a lot of sales AND my blog needs to stand out AND it needs to educate my customers.” The issue with this is, if you have a lot of competing goals, less of them are fulfilled – visually, a lot of call-to-actions can overwhelm the user.
Choice overload halts users in their tracks; not ready to make a decision right here and now, or too confused to, feeling like they’ve been pulled in too many directions, they may just abandon your site altogether.
Think of your website as your employee with 1 key task. In the same way you wouldn’t ask 1 employee to stock the fridge, sell tickets, usher people to their seats and also serve popcorn, it is irrational to expect your website to juggle all your goals at the same time on the one screen. Work out your goals, and prioritise them.
Examples of goals for your website
- Do you want to increase to sign up customers to your newsletter
- Do you want to increase your brand awareness
- Do you want to make lots of product sales
- Do you want people to give you a call
- Do you want people to read your blog regularly
- Is your website purely a confidence & credit check
- Do you want to educate people
- Do you want people to book and attend events
This helps your web designer map out a suitable user journey, prioritising different goals at different points. This also channels their focus and your budget into the right areas so that your priority conversion points convert optimally – you want a couple of star protagonists and a few good supporting acts.
Examples of conversion points
- Shopping cart
- Newsletter sign up
- Blog page
- Image gallery
- Booking form
- Contact page
2. What don’t you like about your current website?
A common reason to get a new website is simply because the current one is ‘too old’. This reason is not deep or honest enough.
New relationships benefit greatly from reflections of what didn’t work in past relationships. A new website will benefit from the same treatment. If you don’t want history to repeat itself, invest some time into working out what needs to change. Enlist the help of a trained design professional here if you have trouble pinpointing the issues.
Examples of toxic website traits
- Heavy, overpopulated navigation menu
- Clashing font styles
- Really large chunks of text
- Low-quality images
It’s not a time to be sentimental, so acknowledge the issues of your old website and let them go, so your new website does not suffer from them.
As an example, if you have a really convoluted menu, you should discuss with your web designer how to simplify your sitemap. If you have big blocks of text, you might need to spend time condensing your content so you’re not waffling on. Important to note, not everything about your website will be bad, so be careful you don’t toss out the baby with the bathwater.
3. What makes your company remarkable?
Have a good think, cause these really need to stand out. Cookie-cutter responses such as ‘great customer service’ and ‘speedy service’ just don’t cut it anymore. Customers and clients expect this at a base level, so you really need to dig deep to unpack what it is that makes you special.
With current research habits, you are often pitted against your competitors – it’s easy to open multiple tabs and flick between them. You might think your service is the best in town, and that you have the best people on the job, but if your website doesn’t portray this, then what you think doesn’t really matter (harsh but true). Know your unique selling propositions so you can differentiate yourself and position yourself at the frontier of your industry.
Examples of remarkable unique selling propositions
- Do you work with a team of experts and specialists
- Do you have a large global team and extensive reach
- Do you offer free returns or a money-back guarantee
- Is your team really personable and charismatic
- Do you have an unbeatable turn-around time
Knowing what makes you good or bad will allow you to own the negative and shift the angle at which your website presents you so you’re not just another Tom, Dick or Harry.
4. Do you know your customer?
In the majority of cases, business owners are not in the same category as their target audience. So remember, you are not designing this website for yourself, but for them.
Even if you don’t have the hefty budget required for in-depth profile analysis of focus groups, you should still try and identify your target market, albeit roughly.
Understand your target market’s
- their aspirations and pain points
- what motivates their purchase decisions
- their web habits
This knowledge will dictate whether your website needs to be more visual or factual, more creative or conservative. Just like how you’d use different bait to catch squid versus marlin, baby boomers and millennials have very different web habits and require different visual treatment.
5. Do you have a list of websites you love & hate?
It is very helpful for yourself and your web designer, if you have an idea of what websites you like and dislike. This list allows your web designer to
- visually see your motivations for a new website
- get a feel for your branding and styling goals
- analyse whether this matches with your business values and goals
- analyse whether your web goals are realistic with your budget
Whilst there is technically no right or wrong when it comes to design, success of a website is often dictated by the look and feel. There are a lot of beautiful different design styles out there, but most will not suit your business or industry. As design is subjective, and what you have in mind might differ from what your designer envisions, it is best to help bridge that gap and ensure you’re on the same page.
This list serves as an important starting point from which your web designer can bounce design ideas from and give you a result that is in line with your vision.
6. Do you have a marketing / web traffic plan?
As conversion specialists, websites are our key focus. However, we must stress the pivotal importance of bringing web traffic to the website, after the website has been launched.
Kick-ass birthday party = website. Sending out invites so people come = traffic.
Examples of traffic-boosting techniques
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Social media campaigns (1 billion monthly active users on Instagram)
- EDM campaigns (videos in emails increase click-through rates by 200%)
- Radio / Television ads
- Optimise written content for voicesearch (46% of people use voice search daily)
In a nutshell, start thinking about how you will push customers or users to your website post-build (unless your website is purely a credit check). The key to success is preparation – having a marketing plan to complement the launch of your website will help ensure it’s a tumbleweed-free zone.
7. Who will be managing your website?
Now the ship has been built, who will steer it? Are they well-equipped or will they be fumbling at the controls? Will it be you, your marketing manager or your copywriter? To ensure a smooth handover and give them confidence at the wheel, involve them early on in the website process.
Ideally, your website should not be a ‘set and forget’. In the same way you can continue to train your staff, you can continue to improve your virtual salesperson. Refreshing your content and imagery every now and then will help your website stay relevant, match the growth in your business and potentially target your customers better.
Managing your website can include
- Updating the headings and copy
- Changing out images for new staff or case studies
- Creating new pages to raise awareness for new services
- Writing and uploading new blog articles
These improvements and changes should be shaped by data and not guesswork, particularly Google Analytics or A/B testing. Entertainment giant, Netflix recognises the importance of this and even performs A/B testing on the image thumbnails associated with the titles, with some resulting in 20% -30% more viewings.
Your website should be a source of confidence for your business, but you should also feel confident in managing it. If possible, ask your web designer for some training or even handy tips so you can easily log-in to the backend and make changes when you need to.
Now that the hard questions have been asked, hopefully you feel ready to jump into the deep end. Following the guidelines determined by your answers should give you a foolproof journey to creating the best website to suit your goals and needs. Just remember to pull them out every now and then, to ensure you and your web designer stays on track.
Getting a website is a process, but if you fall in love with the journey, the results will come.
8. Will your website convert?
Anyone can get a website, that’s easy. But will it convert? Conversion does not necessarily just mean sales, it’s simply whether the website can fulfil its purpose.
Some examples of website purposes
- Giving a confident credit check for a tender
- Looking sharp and slick to recruit the best candidates
- A quick and simple journey for an online sale
- Showing size for a family business
Lots of agencies will say they do this, and that they have a plan. However without proven frameworks, it can end up being a lot of guesswork along the way. No template can fulfil your conversion needs as well as a custom-built website will. Some agencies will take a template, then chop and change to retro-fit it around you, which can end up being even more of a mess – much like trying to mask the mediocrity of an average dish with an overpowering sauce. Instead, we suggest taking the freshest ingredients, and making them the hero of the dish.
We have our own tried-and-tested conversion framework that we run all our projects through – a thorough process refined from 10 years in the industry. If you’d like to unpack and understand what our 5Cs conversion framework is, give our team a call on (03) 9912 6403 and be sure to ask for Irwin. He promises it’ll be educational and entertaining – we call it edutainment.
How can we help?
We hope you found these questions are pointing you in the right direction for your web journey. As specialists in the web design field, digital is our language so give us a call if you’d like some professional advice. Call our team on (03) 9912 6403 for a chat.