If you're thinking about building a website for your business – or revising your current one – there are some questions you should ask yourself first.
I'm not talking about things like, "What's my budget?" or "Who should design it?" Those questions are definitely important, but they should come after you've considered some other issues.
Here are 3 questions to ask before you begin your site design. Having answers to these will make both the process and the resulting site much better.
1. Who is the website for?
Yes, your website is a key tool that helps your business reach your audience, but who is that audience? Who are your ideal visitors or "buyer personas"?
Ideally, you'll have a very specific answer to this question.
For instance, let's say you own a fitness studio in Detroit. You might determine, "Our ideal client is a woman between the ages of 30-60 who lives in the greater Detroit metropolitan area and has a household income of $60,000 or more. She has a college education and is employed part- or full-time. She has a family, is active in her community, and is concerned about fitness and health. She's struggling to fit an exercise routine into her busy schedule."
It's certainly possible that you'll have more than one type of ideal client. The key here is to understand very clearly:
- Who your target(s) is/are
- What his or her problems are
- How your business provides solutions to those problems, and
- How your site will clearly present your solutions.
2. How will your website help new prospects?
If you're lucky, they'll have recognized that they have a need or problem and that your business might be able to help. They'll be checking out your site – as well as your competitors' – to see who provides the best solutions.
So to set your business apart, you need to provide good, solid information. Not just prices.
Too many websites focus on the company, not the customer. Don't let yours be one of them.
Step back and ask yourself:
- "What can I provide for viewers that will be of real value – and get them to come back?"
- "What would show them that we understand their pain points?"
- "What would get them to take the next step toward becoming a customer?"
The "something" you provide might be a checklist, a free assessment, a whitepaper on a relevant topic, etc. In exchange, you can ask for their name and email address – and now you have something of value, too, that you can use to share additional information about your company.
3. What action do you want your visitors to take?
(Don't forget that it needs to be quick and easy to use, too. Tiny buttons don't work well on mobile phones, and long forms make viewers frustrated and leave.)
It's possible you'll have more than one CTA. For instance, your ultimate goal might be to get visitors to buy something, but as described above, you might ask for their email address in exchange for downloading your whitepaper, checklist or reference guide.
Above all, don't confuse your visitors by asking them to do too much. If you're going to have multiple calls-to-action on one page, separate them and make the differences clear.
What other tips or recommendations do you have for improving the web design process? Leave a comment below.