8 Must-dos for planning your website
Without a doubt, planning is definitely the key to a successful website. Yet amazingly many websites you see have had little or no planning at all. Here are 8 things you really should do to get the best out of your website!
1. Decide what you want from your website
What is the purpose of this website? This is the first consideration for any web project. Also, what are the company’s grand plans and how does the website fit in? What are the KPIs for the website?
Generally speaking, primary business goals can more or less be narrowed down to 3 things — generating good quality leads, transacting online sales and saving time (& therefore money). Supporting objectives may be to build a database of prospects, drive visitors to social networks or to house useful information.
Web design projects suddenly become so much simpler & clearer once the business objectives can be agreed upon and defined.
Image via Dwonderwall
2. Ask your customers what they want
If you do nothing else, doing this one thing will put you way ahead of the game.
Getting customer feedback seems so obvious but too frequently it’s overlooked. It is dangerous to make assumptions about your customers especially when it’s so easy to find out.
Try taking a handful of customers out to lunch, email them a survey, call them up, run a focus group – you will learn so much valuable information it will blow you away! You already know that not all customers are created equal so apply the Pareto’s 80/20 rule — ask the 20% of customers that bring in 80% of your revenue. And LISTEN.
[NB. a side note here is to always TEST the feedback you get, after all Henry Ford famously said, “when I asked people what they wanted they said a faster horse.”]
3. Consult with front line staff
Who really knows what goes on in your company? The staff on the front line!
What is the most common question people ask? What problems do you get called up about regularly?
By asking the staff who actually deal with the customers on a daily basis, you be able to diagnose many areas where your website can help out. Your customers & front-line staff generally hold all the answers, so get them involved!
4. Do card sorting
What is that…? It’s an activity where you write down on separate cards all the bits of information related to your company. Then you get customers to sort those cards into logical categories. And then get them to label those categories.
The beauty of this process is that you get to understand how your customers think & enables you to appreciate how they sort information. This translates to designing a website where customers can actually find the information what they are looking for!
This helps you determine the sitemap aka the information architecture.
Image via CannedTuna
5. Review your competitors
By keeping an eye on what is happening in your industry both locally and overseas, you’ll be well placed to see what the market leaders are doing and perhaps find opportunities to do it better!
Big companies regularly spend tens of thousands of dollars on research, testing & design for their corporate websites. Take notice of what these companies are doing and see what parts you can relate back to your website.
6. Look at your analytics
If you check out your website’s analytics, it will paint you a vivid picture of what pages are most popular, how long people stay on your website, how they are finding you, where they are exiting and which geographical areas they are in.
I agree that reviewing analytics can often be overwhelming, so focus on 3-4 key metrics that are relevant to your company.
If your current website doesn’t have analytics on it, get your web designer to install Google Analytics (it’s free & easy) so you can start collecting information on the browsing behaviour of your website visitors.
Image via writetoreply
Why not ask friends or colleagues you respect what has & hasn’t worked well on their websites? Why not even search for some websites you really like & contact that company to see if they’ll have a quick chat to you on the phone? There are also many digital experts who blog & write articles who always provide their direct contact details.
Most people are flattered to share their experiences with you if only you ask.
Image via Dwonderwall
8. Run your own listening lab
This is where you get a few customers in & talk to them while they navigate your current website (or if you don’t have one yet, let them navigate an interstate or overseas competitor’s).
Can they easily find information, do they hit the Back arrow often, are they frowning, scratching their head or smiling and enjoying themselves? Listen to what they tell you & observe their reactions.
If you do all eight of these things, you will learn so much valuable information & you’ll also be able to provide a web design company fantastic insight into your project!
Web Design Brisbane: For professional website strategy call Bluewire Media on 1300 258 394.