The prospect of building a website makes some business owners balk, primarily because they’re unaware of where to begin such an undertaking. Their first port of call is usually a web design agency or freelancer who can help them with it. A good web development agency will have a lot of questions – and we mean a lot of questions – before they even move into the design stage. (If they don’t ask many questions, walk away. Immediately.)
If your goal is a fully-functional website which brings customers swarming to your pages and effectively impacting your revenue, here are 7 things you should be clear about:
1. Purpose of Building a Website
Knowing why your business needs a website is a start. Here are few questions you can ask yourself to know why you need a website:
- Is to sell or advertise a product(s) online?
- Do I want to build a community for people who share a unique interest?
- Would I like to make it easier for my customers to do business with me by automating some processes?
- Is there a dearth of online resources for professionals within my niche that my website can fill?
Your brand is what your customers will define you with. Does it inspire confidence? Curiosity? Trustworthiness? When it comes to branding, you want to consider the following:
- Color scheme: There’s such a thing called color psychology – the tendency to associate colors with emotions and feelings. For instance the color blue is often associated with trustworthiness, calmness and even loyalty. Some websites that have a blue color scheme? Facebook, Twitter and PayPal. See what we mean? Here’s a handy guide from Kissmetrics on how web users broadly react to various colors.
- Site Logo: Your site logo is an integral part of your brand identity. Most businesses opt for a logo that includes a single icon that represents their core purpose, and a typographic part that spells the name of the business.
- Value Proposition: When someone visits your website, they’ll need to know they’ve come to the right place for what they need. Your value proposition – a brief description encompasses your business’ core purpose. – will let them know that it is.
Content is King. Too cliché? Maybe. But, that doesn’t make it any less true. This is one area in website development where many sites stumble because their owners spent more time on their site’s design. The design may draw your visitors in, but the content is what’ll keep them coming back.
- Site Map: The site map defines the structure in which all the pages on your site will be organized.
- Information: The information that each page will contain. Ideally, you want to ensure every page in your site only serves or present a single purpose. People should be able to find what they’re looking without having to scour your website.
- Tone: Decide the kind of tone your content will set. Serious? Funny? Somewhere in the middle? If you’re clear about your purpose, you’ll know what kind of audience you’re catering to. The tone should speak to key demographic of your audience.
- Uniqueness: How will your website stand out from your competition? What will make visitors come back to your website, instead of seeking out a competitor’s?
Your site design isn’t just about how it looks on a screen. The word “design” has come to encompass the user’s experience when they interact with your website. When you consider your design, think about the following:
- Mobile Responsivity: It is 2017, so this goes without saying, really. Your design should be “mobile-first”. This also includes ensuring that all functionality – such as e-commerce – works seamlessly on mobile devices.
- Navigability: You want your website users to be able to find their way around your site intuitively. Ensure that you have clean, un-broken links throughout your website. “Page Not Found” or 404 errors are a sure-fire way to put your visitors off.
- Visual Element: Designs which rely more on visual information generally perform better, so talk to your designer about how you can use the site’s graphics and visual elements to present your business objective.
One of the major considerations of owning a website, especially one that relies on online payments and storing user-data, is security. Users should know they can trust you with their information.
- Educate yourself on what Data Encryption, Security Certifications and Protocols are, and talk to your developers about implementing them.
- Likewise, for online transactions, you’ll need to consider the Digital Wallet which allows for secure transactions using credit cards, or a trustworthy Payment Gateway service like PayPal or Authorize.net.
7. Calls to Action and Lead Conversion
The measure of a website’s success is more than just the number of visitors coming to it, it’s also about enticing those visitors to convert into a potential lead, and building a solid user-base for your site. This involves including appropriate calls-to-action and interactive elements like:
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Online surveys and polls
Once you’re clear about everything you want your website to have, you’ll be better able to convey your vision more clearly to your designer/developer.