Don’t get a website developed until you understand the following.
Many prospective clients I come across simply haven’t thought this one through. Their answers to this question often vary from “everyone has one these days” or “my son told me I should get a website”.
You answer should be that it will make a positive impact on your business. How? The following examples are possible ways it could do this:
- Enquiries – Generating more enquiries which you can follow up and turn into sales.
- Selling – Selling products online and so creating an additional sales channel which, unlike other sales channels is open 24 x 7 x 365.
- Support – Providing excellent support to existing customer leading to increased customer satisfaction and ultimately increased repeat business.
- Efficiency – Reducing the effort you and your staff need to put into selling thus freeing up resource that you can put into other business generating activities.
What do you want the website to do for you?
Once you’ve decided why you want the site you can create a list of more specific requirements for your web developer. So using the example above and in the same order as the 4 points listed:
- Enquiries – The site should be designed to cause visitors to be attracted enough to stay on the site, to be structured such that it is easy to browse and find information, and to make it easy for visitors to find your contact details so that they can pick up the phone and call you or email you.
- Selling – The site should have some form of online shop. Depending on the number of products you want to sell it might be a simple PayPal shop catering for a few products, or a full-blown eCommerce site selling hundreds of products.
- Support – To support existing customers the site may require; a repository of online downloadable documents, an FAQ section, and an online forum.
- Efficiency – in order to save effort the site should be as automated as possible. This could include things as; autoreponders that automatically send out follow-up emails, sending invoices automatically, and stock control for an online shop.
Who is the website aimed at?
It is crucial that you understand your target market. This will impact your specific requirement and the design of the site. For example If your target market is mainly women then you will require a feminine looking design. Colours will be determined by gender and type of business. Age group will also have an impact. If your target market consists mainly of people under 30 then they will be comfortable using online applications such as forums, social media etc.
In what area are these people located?
This will determine how the site is marketed. If you operate at a local level then marketing will be focused at a local level using for example, Google Places, local online directories, and/or search engine optimization for key word phrases that include local terms.
What’s your budget?
Your budget will determine just how realistic your requirements are. Using the example above, If your budget is a few hundred pounds then a requirement list consisting of all 4 point above is unrealistic and you will need to sit down with your web developer and decide on the most cost effective way of using that budget.
Too many clients approach web developers with only a vague idea of what they require. And too many web developers fail to drill down and flush out the points I’ve listed above. The results are websites that may look stunning but are ineffective as far as generating business.
Don’t fall into this trap. decide Why, what, who, and where before starting.