1+9 questions for your new website

Questions for your websiteA new, modern, efficient website. What an exciting project! If you are a start-up, can you think of anything else that says more clearly ‘We are open for business’? If you are an established brand, what better way to modernise your look and your digital offering to your audience?! Ultimately, your new website will have to support your business, drive new clients in, showcase your products and services, and engage your audience. Which is why your new website needs to be spot on!

Following below is a list of things to consider before meeting your web designer. Take your time to think them through so that you will be able to articulate your requirements clearly and ensure that the final result will live up to your expectations.

Most likely, you have an idea of what you imagine your website looks like. However, it’s important to remember that look and feel, content and functionalities all form part of the second step of this project, but first things first: your brand! If you have been in business for years, chances are that you already have a strong brand, while if you just started it might be that you have an idea of where you want your business to go but haven’t sat down yet to clearly define your brand. In either case remember that your web designer doesn’t know you. They might have an impression of what you do and what your goals are but they don’t know your business inside out. And that’s a great thing! Yes, because once you have taken the time to articulate your brand to them, they can look at our website with objective eyes and focus on making sure that it will deliver what matters for your specific company. So here it is, your very first, big question: what is your company about?

Can you articulate what you do? What sets you apart from your competitors, what your future will look like, who your target audience is? What are the emotions that you want your brand to trigger, and if your company was a person, what kind of personality would it have? Importantly, what is the visual identity of your brand? Not just the logo but the style your brand has.

At KnowThyBrand we call this a brand roadmap: that tool that allows you to articulate your brand to anyone, including your web designer that doesn’t know you but that needs to know this all in order to be able to create a website that is not just a copy of any another business similar to yours, but that delivers on your unique requirements.

So, once you have your brand roadmap ready (and you might well already have it in place before even considering a new website) these are 9 key questions you need to be ready to answer to your designer:

1) What is the main objective of your website?

The first instinct is to respond: to bring in new customers, which is certainly true. But more specifically, why are you creating this new website?

For instance, should your website be an online brochure (i.e. a simple website that showcases your services or products to provide support to other business development tactics that your company employs)? Do you want it to attract new customers by channelling them through the sales pipeline? Will you be selling products through the site? Do you want to interact with customers through your website?

While there could be more than one objective for your site, try to focus on the main one and treat the others as secondary. Otherwise the risk is that you end up with a website that does a bit of everything, but nothing very well.

2) What do you want visitors to do once they are at your site? What action do you want to inspire?

  • Learn, by providing access to your though leadership content.
  • Understand your offering, by showcasing your services and products and demonstrating how to use them.
  • Interact with you: contact you, request information, chat with you.
  • Purchase
  • Register for newsletter/events/etc…
  • Share your content

Questions Number 1 and 2 are critical to determine the list of features and functionalities that the website should have. You can then split them in Must Haves to Get Started, Nice to Haves, and Plans for Future Development.

3) Examples of websites you like. Why do you like them? What are the particular features that you would like to have in yours?

4) Have you seen anything in other websites that you really don’t like? If so which? And why?

6) Do you have any requirement in terms of hosting/Content Management System (CMS)? Some companies prefer easy CMS solutions like WordPress, others prefer more robust, yet maybe more complex solutions. And does it matter to you where the site will be hosted? For instance, from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) prospective for a local business it would be better to have a local host, but that might not always be possible or advisable.

8) What is your budget? This will help your designer set realistic expectations of what can or cannot be done.

7) Will you need copy-writing? If so you will need to consider the budget and time required for it.

9) Do you have a rough launch date in mind? This will help your designer organise the timeline of this project accordingly.

Be prepared to answer these questions when you meet with your designer and get ready for the launch of your new, modern and efficient website!

One final, but critical, note: I see many companies getting obsessed with SEO, pushing for websites that are designed specifically to rank at the top of page 1 of Google search, almost forgetting anything else. While getting found on Google, Bing, Baidu, etc… is certainly important, the User Experience of your visitor navigating through your website is as important if not more. What’s the point of having a big volume of incoming traffic if everybody then leaves almost immediately? Keywords are critical, but a page stuffed with keywords whose actual content doesn’t mean much will not give a good impression of your company to your visitors. In the same way, a website that ranks Number 1 but for a keyword that is actually not the one that your target audience is likely to type in to the search engine won’t bring much new business (https://www.quicksprout.com/2016/05/11/having-trouble-converting-your-seo-traffic-this-is-probably-why/). So, while certain aspects of SEO must be implemented (right keywords, mobile optimisation, image optimisation, etc…), my strong recommendation is to focus on your target audience and their user experience, and ensure that they will find what they are looking for in your site once they are there. After all, you only have a few seconds to impress your visitors! https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/12-seconds-impress-site-visitors-birdie-c-dequay

Need help with your new website? Contact me at giulia@knowthybrand.com 

Find out more: www.knowthybrand.com 

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