Ten quick questions to ask when creating a new website
Upgrading or redeveloping your website is a major step. How can you ensure that you’re going to get maximum value from the process? Here are ten questions we ask to help ensure we’re delivering to for our clients – we thought this might be helpful.
- What does success look like? You’re going to be spending time and money on this so it is vital to know what success looks like. Consider, what do you want the new website to deliver? Are you focused on digital leads and enquiries based on search or is your business won more by referral where engagement may be more critical?
- Do you actually need to do this? It’s worth asking the question. Can you achieve your goals with iterative changes to your existing website? Worth checking before you commit to the larger project.
- Who are you targeting? A deceptively simple question and absolutely critical to the success of your website. Many of our clients are addressing multiple audiences – even if it is simply prospects, investors and potential hires. For most organisations, there will be multiple prospects including influencers and referrers so be clear about what user journeys you want them to take? We recommend drawing up a Persona for each audience so you can understand what they want from your new website. Find out more about Personas.
- What are you planning to say? You need to be very clear about this – if you can’t state your main message in a sentence then it is probably too complex. And how will you tune-up or tune-down this message across the website. Plus how will you support what you’re saying; what proof or evidence can you offer?
- Will this interest your audience? One of our most frequent conversations with clients is to avoid mirroring your organisation on your website and show what your prospects actually want to see/buy. This may look very different.
- What technical changes do you need? New content management system? New automation platform? New tracking systems? The list can go on and on. Our advice is to think about what each technical upgrade will deliver and to prioritise. It is often worth considering a phased roll-out so you can track early performance and tune your website accordingly.
- What integrations will you need? Increasingly, websites sit at the heart of a much wider online presence. In marketing that might be automation platforms, CRM and social marketing systems. There may also be company-wide systems that serve existing clients or partners. Be clear about what you need, what’s in the scope of your project and what isn’t. Be aware that integration can be much more complex than it initially appears.
- How will you market the website after the launch? To quote 1980s classic movie Field of Dreams – “Build it and they will come”. Err – they won’t. You will need to drive traffic to your website. That doesn’t mean a dramatic launch (they don’t tend to work). It means looking at how your can build visits and most critically attract repeat visits when the site is live. If you are clear on how you want to market, this is likely to influence the website structure.
- How will you measure results? This is back to what success looks like. We recommend creating a series of metrics or KPIs for the site to ensure that you are on target throughout. This might be clicks, engagement, visits, downloads – depending on your approach. Be ready to shift your emphasis if you’re gaining traction from specific parts of the website..
- Hosting, reporting and support. Let’s start with the obvious – you need reliable hosting; an offline or slow website does you no favours. Quick and effective support is reassuring. But perhaps most critical is reporting – understanding in-depth how visitors are using your website; what is working and what is not. From here you can iteratively enhance and improve your website and the level of enquiries you gain from it.
And the inevitable final question. Would you like an agency to help review and analyse your existing website or help you plan and deliver your new site? If you do, please contact me, Mike Fieldhouse, or call 01225580016.
Download Creating the Perfect Website