Contrary to popular belief, not all websites are the same. Although naturally they look different, many businesses believe that obtaining or updating one is simply a matter of doing the same thing each time. However each and every website needs to be approached differently – as every business and client base is unique, with varying requirements. In this article we explore how businesses new to the web can build a site that is likely to help them fulfil their business objectives – from a strong presence to increased revenue. This blog is the latest in our Beginner’s Guide to the Web series. You can read more about making sure you’re setting up for online success here.
How does your website fit into your overall marketing and sales strategy?
This is the very first question to ask, as it allows you to determine exactly how much time, effort and money you should be putting in to your website. It’s important to note however that where there once was a time when businesses could cheerfully ignore their web presence, the landscape has dramatically changed. This means that even if your business doesn’t currently receive a large portion of its custom via the web, it will need to rely on it in the future, and failing to recognise this could leave you falling behind. You need to be tapping into this rich resource now – as most consumers now turn to the internet to find their next brand to engage with. Therefore going forward this website should be a significant part of your overall marketing and sales strategy.
Who is your target audience?
One important factor in the website design and development process is determining your audience. Once you know who you want to reach, you can then work with your web team to produce something that they will want to connect and engage with. So it’s time to carefully consider. Who are your customers? If you’re not sure, do some internal market research or assess your existing client base and identify one or several markets or categories those individuals fall into. Now think about where and how they’ll find you online – and how they will want to interact with you once they discover your website.
How do your customers want or need to interact with your website?
Knowing first how your customers will find you is key – then you can put the appropriate sales channels in place to direct them to your website. But you also need an appreciation of how they’ll want to interact with your business once they arrive there. If you know for example that your customers like to be able to contact you easily, make sure your details are on every single page. If your clients need to feel well informed, ensure each of your products is presented in clear detail. Conversely if they’re visual and are in danger of being overwhelmed by too much information, ensure your website design is clean and minimalistic. A little market research (both internally and externally, and exploring the approach of successful competitors with the same demographic) should give you an indication of what your website’s position needs to be in order for it to be effective.
What do you want your customers to do?
A firm grip on customer motive is the key behind all good websites. But equally important are your business objectives – and the type of results you need to experience via your website. Do you want them to make a purchase there and then? Ensure that your banners and visuals are tempting, displaying your best deals and products to direct them towards a buying decision. Perhaps it’s just a booking you need to be made – or for them to generate a no-obligation quote. Maybe you’re growing your mailing list, and all you need is an email. Customer motivation and business objectives should drive both the design and functionality so your website – so you’ll need to carefully consider how you want them to interact and what the end result needs to be. Whatever your goal is now, it’s important to bear in mind that as your business grows and develops, your objectives may naturally alter. For this reason make sure your website can easily be adapted without needing a full rebuild going forward.
For more information on Search and More’s approach and methodology, or to explore our services, take a look at our case studies here.