Goals + Plan = Success!
We want to ensure your website project brings your business success! In order to accomplish this, here are some things to keep in mind throughout the process:
What do I need?
What specific purposes should your website serve? Are you simply wanting to provide basic information about your company, such as contact info and a description of services offered? Are you wanting to sell your products online? Perhaps you have a lot of media to share. Do you need to keep track of internal data such as customers or inventory?
In order to create a website that will truly work for you, it is important for your designer or agency to communicate and understand your goals.
What do I want to say?
Every organization has a message that they want heard. Your content needs to be well organized on all formats and platforms in order for clear communication to take place. Whether an interested party finds you via your website, social media, or elsewhere on the Internet, your message needs to be consistent. Think beyond text: photos, videos, and infographics can assist with effective communications.
Who is visiting?
These are all important metrics that must be tracked in order for you to understand how the site is performing. Having this information makes it possible to make improve by attracting more visitors, keeping them on the site longer, and increasing conversion rates.
Sometimes you run into surprises when you first start tracking the visitors for an existing site. You may find that people are using an unexpected search query to find you, or perhaps they are actually looking for something else and your content needs to be clarified. Maybe you are getting a lot of traffic from a website you did not realize had linked to yours. This all helps you adapt and attract your desired demographic more effectively.
Your website should make an impression with your potential clients. A combination of great content and expressive visuals helps keep visitors focused on your message. It is a good idea for you to look at other websites when deciding what your website should look like. Make notes about specific aspects such as the layout, the navigation bar, color schemes, etc.
A good web designer will take this into consideration, and also make suggestions; sometimes what works for another organization is not ideal for yours. Every business can benefit from a holistic branding solution that presents your clients with a consistent look and feel.
Content is King
Your website's content is it's most important aspect! It is critical to discuss this before starting on a project. Text content contains the bulk of SEO value, so the more effort put into it, the more (and better) traffic you will receive. Keep target key phrases in mind when writing your text content to increase search engine results. In addition to new information, media such as pictures, videos, and infographics will keep visitors coming back to your site.
Don’t forget to plan for how much time and effort it may take to keep your website content updated. How often will you need to update each section, and who will do them? Does your website need to be set up so that someone within your organization can easily make updates? Will your web developer be there when you need assistance?
Security is a major concern for all websites. Even if you do not use your website to process or store sensitive information, no one wants to see that their website has been compromised. Imagine the negative impact on the reputation of your business if your website gets hacked and is displaying offensive images or spreading malware! Both the website code and the hosting environment it is stored on greatly impact security.
Do you have a common Content Management System such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla? What is overlooked by non technical users is that keeping up and running such a system requires regular maintenance and a fair bit of work. Because they are so widely used, they are frequently targeted by hackers. Information on their vulnerabilities is readily available, so it is important that these sites are updated and patched quickly.
Make sure your website and hosting are checked for potential vulnerabilities to ensure that your data - and reputation - are safe.
For large projects, it is fairly common to work in stages as mentioned previously. This allows you to work within your budget by spreading out the expense over time. An added benefit is that by working on smaller sections at a time, it is easier to pay attention to detail throughout the entire process instead of getting burned out halfway through. Your input is critical in helping our designer or agency assist YOU with achieving your goals, so it is important to stay focused!
Metrics for Success
What would "success" mean to you? Perhaps it would be an increase in sales for particular products / services, or an increase in the number of visitors to your website. Maybe you simply realize that you need an increased Internet presence as part of a long-term marketing strategy.
Whatever your goals are, it is important to keep track of them throughout the process to ensure that the end result is suited to the needs of your business. In situations where a complete overhaul is needed, it can be a good idea to work in stages so that the most urgent needs are met first, and no one gets overwhelmed before seeing results. Sound interesting? This is a very basic implementation of the “AGILE methodology” - it’s good stuff!
Your website needs to be promoted to your target demographic in order increase it's value. Even once your website is firmly established and is being regularly crawled by search engines, it is important to continue promoting it via social media and other means. Yes, this promoting will cost you time and money, but a good marketing guru will work with you in optimizing your promotion efforts in a way that increases your ROI and also works for your budget, considering both time and money.
On the other hand, self promotion of a website means that your visitors are doing some of this work for you, often via social media. There are many tools available which enable them to do so easily. Use Open Graph metadata so that the links they share are relevant and well formed in relation to what message they intend to share. Of course you’ll want to monitor the analytics of these actions!