Creating a new website is challenging on many levels, but the payoff can be huge.
You need to look at your business with fresh eyes to assess required adjustments to your brand, to better evaluate what your clients really want, and even to revisit the reason you’re in business to begin with.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does my company hope to achieve with a new website? In other words, after your new site is launched, what specific outcomes do you envision? If you’ve changed your brand and company image, that needs to be reflected in your site, even if updates impact only visual design.
- Do I really know my audience? Your new site won’t be successful if you have an incomplete understanding of your client base and target demographic. You need to know specifically what they like, or don’t, about your current website and services/products. You need to include your audience in the website development process in order to gain their invaluable feedback about design and content options. You’ll also need to collect and assess your current site’s traffic statistics and site analytics on entry and exit page usage, sales conversions, and search engine keywords.
- What, specifically, no longer works? After you break your site down into its key components, you’ll know what needs to go, what can be updated or kept as is. And, if your website needs to be redeveloped from scratch, you can rely on OWDT to help you navigate that process so that your vital backlinks and other critical elements stay intact.
- Who will be responsible? It’s unwise for the CEO or other executive to dictate website design and content. On the other hand, you can’t ‘design by committee.’ The best strategy is to designate internal control to an internet savvy single-point-of–contact project team leader with the skills required to collaborate effectively both with their internal team and your website developer.
- Does my website developer have credibility? Will they work with you as a partner? You can tell a lot by the website developer’s online social media presence. Do they, for example, consistently post informative blogs? Even more important: do their staff members exhibit emotional intelligence? Yes, emotional intelligence… As discussed in the bulleted item above, people skills matter as much as designing/programming skills.
- Does my website make it easy, even enjoyable, for the customer to purchase my product or secure my services? Effective websites provide the visitor with all the sequential, step-by-step information they need – beginning with research all the way through purchase. Your company’s success is dependent on knowing what your buyers need throughout the journey to becoming a loyal client.
- Would my client base benefit from ongoing news and updates? Would your clients appreciate an increased frequency or improved quality of blog posts or other platform-based information?
- And, of course: What’s the budget? How much time do I have for completion? Does the organization understand that ‘everything’ is not an option?
Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing/branding.
Last March I recommended that you look at your business with fresh eyes to –
- Determine if you need to make adjustments to your brand;
- Ensure you really understand what your customers want in a site like yours; and even
- Revisit the reason you’re in business to begin with.
If you’ve developed new marketing objectives to address product/service changes for an expanded or different customer base, please contact us to consider your options. We will partner with you to assess what is/isn’t working/ on your current site – and evaluate strategies for taking a new direction.
Additional important guidelines
Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing/branding. And digital marketing (see our recent 3-part posts) will determine your future business success. We’re passionate about helping you tailor leading-edge website that incorporates the best possible branding and marketing for your market.
That said, before speaking with us, or any other website developer, conduct your own in-house assessment. Answer the new questions below, beginning with those mentioned earlier in this blogpost, to help ensure you’re moving in the right direction:
- Is your site’s functionality/navigation effortless and fast?
Does it take too long to move from one page to another? Are there enough easily located internal links so that your customers can navigate your website without getting ‘stuck’? Are your external links up to date? If your website is slow, the problem may be as simple as an inferior, out-of-date server.
- How simple and transparent is your customer’s experience purchasing your online products/services?
As emphasized in Part I of this blog, if the sequential screen-to-screen purchasing process in any way confusing or unnecessarily complex, folks will quickly click away from your site.
- Do your customers have common complaints about your website?
If customers do not feel served by your website, your business is not being served.
- What are the winning features of your strongest competitors’ websites?
You should never mimic your competitors’ websites, no matter how successful they are. But you should incorporate, and improve upon, features in your competitors’ websites that synch with your genuine branding and marketing strategies.
- Does your website include apps? Do they work? Are they up-to-date?
All of your website component, including apps, must be glitch-free. Because external software developers originate apps, over which you have no direct control, make sure you have their most updated versions and that they integrate flawlessly with your website
- Is your in-house IT talent really up to the challenge of redoing your website?
Even if your IT team has website design experience, consider the critical benefits of collaborating with a full-time website/marketing development company like OWDT. If you have little or no website development experience, understand that working from online templates isn’t going to make the best impression on your customers. Most important of all: if you aren’t completely sure that you or your team team is up to the challenge, don’t let the prospect of temporary cost savings undermine your long-term ROI and brand credibility.
- Is your website’s written content really up to par?
OK, so maybe you already have a nicely designed and easy-to-navigate site. Now take a careful look at your written content. Was it written by a professional copywriter? Is it up to date? Just as important: can customers in your target demographic relate to its style and reading level (Flesch-Kincaid score)? Few of us read online content the way we read books and magazines in years past. Things need to ‘pop’ to get our attention. To be effective, all written material needs to be concise, clear, and be set off by headings, subheadings with generous white space.