What to consider when considering a new website.
If you’re thinking of building a new website for your business, it’s important to consider anything that might impact your budget, timeline, or final deliverable.
First and foremost, it’s essential to set expectations.By starting off with a formalized set of goals and a framework to work from, you give both you and your agency team the best opportunity to succeed.
You’ll need to consider the interactivity of the content, how dynamic you want the design of that content to be, and the bandwidth it takes up to serve the content to the visitors. Furthermore, consider the internal process that needs to take place to successfully assemble all the above into a finished product. Who needs to be involved in the development process from your team and how does your internal review process work?
What are the website goals?What is your catalyst for a new website? Are there specialized tools or information you need? You may be attempting to drive traffic to your retail brand, supporting sales teams at a professional firm, or distributing information to your member organization. Defining this goal will guide you in developing a scope of features, defining content, developing a budget and measuring success. Start here and build everything else on these goals.
Is it a technology need or a communications need?Each of these needs call for a very different solution. Often people say they need a website “because our customers don’t fully understand what we do.” Rarely is this because the logo is too small, or the functionality seems dated. It’s more likely that you have a brand communications challenge. A website is a key element to solving this problem, but the problem is with messaging more than it is technology.
If your site goals are focused on providing a self-service platform for ordering industrial supplies, you might consider it a technology-focused need, in which case you’ll want to pay special attention to things like user journeys and page load time. If it is intended to help you deliver information about a complex non-profit social services program, it might be a communications need. In this case you’ll need to focus your attention on clarity of messaging, customer support, and how content is organized.
Defining whether your new website will solve a communication need, a technology need, or a combination of both will allow you to start on an effective development path.
How does your website fit into your marketing strategy?Your website never stands alone. For professional services firms, websites often act as a “digital brochure” which provides validation for clients considering hiring you. It might be a sales enablement tool that optimizes the sales process by featuring case studies, capturing new client inquiries, etc. For product marketers, it might be a centerpiece of the marketing strategy, including landing pages for demand generation campaigns or lead capturing. For ecommerce businesses, it is a storefront, and much like the rent and maintenance of a brick and mortar store, companies should allocate budget to support it and ensure it is effective. It is valuable to consider how your website ties into these other activities.
How does your website relate to your brand?It’s not unusual to want to update your website because it just looks dated. If you update your website with a modern look and feel, how will this affect the appearance of your brand identifiers like logos, typography and color palette? The design of the website will have to take these design elements into consideration. In some cases, a redesign of a website may require a redesign of a brand identity if it is going to be a successful upgrade. Even if a full rebrand is not on the table, be prepared to review all of your marketing collateral to make sure that there is consistency in the aesthetic across your brand touch points.
For more questions to consider before building a new website, read Part II of this blog here.