Websites are hard to get right but it’s not impossible. By listening to your consumers, reviewing your business stats, and ensuring that your customers can reach you anywhere through a mobile-friendly website, you can develop an optimal user experience that encourages stronger engagement.
Your website is your company’s voice and look; it delivers that first impression that leads to an online sale or an in-person visit. Improving website navigation alone, a common problem among small business websites, can increase your conversion rate by 18.5%.
Create a pleasant website experience that engages and inspires from the very start and is carried throughout your website. Here we take a look at the crucial steps and key questions involved in starting the process of your website build.
Identify Why You Need a New Website
If you are starting to question if your website needs a new look or a refresh, you might be right. But before you jump into a website project head first, here are a couple of points to help you more definitively answer that question:
Missing details - Your website should feature the basics of your company: contact information, location map or directions, store hours, product descriptions, and prices. If any are missing, you’ll want to add those in.
Mobile-optimization - How does your website appear on smartphones or tablets? Is it optimized to appear just as user-friendly on mobile as it is on a desktop? According to studies, 43% of consumers faced with a negative mobile shopping experience will give up and go to a competitor’s site instead.
Functionality - Does your website load quickly or does it lag when clicking through or at checkout? Broken code, image size, broken links, server performance and more can contribute to long load times which can lead to loss of up to half of your customers, according to Akami.
SEO rank - Has your SEO rank fallen or not increased? Was it built with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind? Search engines reward sites with fresh content.
Customer feedback - Have you received comments from customers about being unable to locate products or services on your website? Are they running into any technical or navigation issues? Is content clear?
Poor conversion - Increased bounce rates, or high traffic but low sales can be a sign that customers are not successfully navigating from product or service to checkout. A website build can help to improve your user experience and interface.
Outdated design - As companies grow, so does their brand, voice, and style. If your company’s look no longer matches your website, it’s time for an update.
Websites that don’t use generic photos and instead have a tailored, custom look, tend to have a 48% higher conversion rate. You want to create consistency across your different communication and marketing platforms.
Define Goals for Your New Website
The first decision has been made -- You know you need a brand new website! So, what are the next steps and where do you start?
First, determine the primary purpose of your website. What kind of impact do you wish to have with your website? What’s the intended goal(s) of the website build? Here are a few examples of goals you’ll want to outline and set benchmarks for:
- Attracting new customers
- Improved user experience
- Improving the journey users will go through as they navigate your site
- Better highlighting and producing sales of your products and services
Your goals should be incorporated into the build plan and reinforced in the final website with specific design elements such as fonts, sizing, colors, imagery and video, CTAs, and content.
Next, what level of involvement do you want to have with the build? Do you want to be hands-on by helping with the project plan or do you expect website developers to deliver a proposed plan?
Keep in mind that website build costs can vary depending on the company’s skills, the website you’d like to have built, and the complexity of it. Each website development company has their own techniques to achieve your desired look and process, as well as their own level of resources.
Compile Crucial Details for Your Website Plan
Before you start looking at different website development services, it’s a good idea to determine your internal stakeholders, budget, deadlines and your expected final outcomes.
Identify key stakeholders to be involved in the website project
From the very start, identify who from your company should be involved with the project. And, how much availability they have to offer the project. This will help you determine timelines and appropriate checkpoints, as well as avoid roadblocks in approval or needed assets.
Also identify what resources your company may have to contribute to the website build. For example, do you have an in-house designer that you’d like the website agency to use?
Determine the budget for the project
If there are elements of your project that you’d like to retain, that may help save some costs as long as features are compatible with the new design. The same goes if you have an in-house designer who could participate in the website build.
Be clear and upfront about your budget with your website development company from the very start and check in regularly to ensure that you are on track. A professional company will keep your budget in mind and work creatively to stick to it. Identify what’s an optimal budget and what is considered a stretch, as well as the type of value you expect to receive for that amount.
Set deadlines for the website
Before you start diving into HTML code or talking about font sizing, first take a look at your company and industry’s calendar. Are there any upcoming events or sales where you expect an increase in traffic? Should your website be ready before then?
Plan your new website build timeline carefully, so sales and business growth opportunities are not hindered and are instead supported by improved user experience and interface.
To ensure that website design and development meets your expectations, often companies set several checkpoints within the project. These are points where you can adjust the scope or confirm that everything is on track.
Desired outcomes of building a new website
Make sure you have ways to measure the impact on success -- tracking conversion, mobile use, google analytics, purchases or sales, engagement on the site, and blog traffic.
Look for tracking metrics that reveal if everything that you had initially set out to accomplish was done well, and ensure that those tracking tools are built into your site from the start. Depending on your agreement with the website development company, they can offer maintenance and improvements after your website has launched.
Your website reflects your brand, your voice, and is the very first impression for potential customers. Engage and inspire your audience from the very start with a clean, unique, functional design that fits your company’s persona.
Bayshore Solutions is an end-to-end digital agency providing customized brand storytelling, web design & development, e-commerce, digital marketing, creative, and hosting solutions to companies seeking to grow their business. For over 23 years, we’ve helped clients define their audiences, create compelling stories, implement innovative technology, and grow their brands.
Contact Bayshore Solutions today to discuss how we can help grow your business through expert Web design.