In order to start your website creation project under the best possible conditions, you are going to need to ask yourself important questions to help build up your online strategy. In this blog post we’ll review these different questions to help you create the website of your dreams.
Who are you creating your website for?
You need to determine your target audience (customers, partners, employees, suppliers, investors, etc.) and then determine what content they’ll be looking for on your website.
The style and technology used should also to be taken into account. For example, it is preferable to avoid content that is too heavy if your principle target audience is based mainly in rural areas where Internet connection speed is known to be reduced.
The devices used by your target (mobile or desktop) should also to be taken into account. Since mobile devices are being increasingly used to browse the Internet, it is advisable to opt for a Responsive Web Design for your website.
Also, please note that graphic elements (images, background, videos, animations) can really increase the loading time of your website pages.
When a website is poorly made, or lacking both in terms of content and form, your visitors will not build trust in your company, and it is very likely that they will turn to businesses using a more “professional” site, one that inspires more confidence.
What content do you offer on your website?
So far, we have talked about the form of your website, but above all your visitors come for the content you offer. You should make sure that visitors can easily find what they are looking for and you should adapt your vocabulary to include common keywords used by your target audience. Using the right keywords will help you better position yourself on Google search results (SEO).
The simplicity of browsing your website is really a key component for your online communication strategy. Indeed, it’s common that after browsing a corporate website for 5 minutes, we still don’t understand the services the company offers! While theses types of companies generally have taken care of the style and image of their sites, they are really nothing more than a beautiful but empty shell in terms of content…
You should know that even if you have regular visitors who know your site inside out, most of your traffic comes from new visitors who certainly do not have the time nor the desire to search extensively for information. So, your content must therefore be quickly identifiable and relevant to visitor research.
If your website targets:
The general public and new visitors – Add additional navigation tools and preliminary information about your company and its activities to your website. Also, make sure that the design of your website attracts the attention of visitors and encourages them to explore all your pages.
Customers – Pay particular attention to the aesthetics of your site and its presentation, since these elements are the expression of your company.
Employees – If the site is used as an intranet or as a work tool, its functionality is more important than the appearance of the pages.
Business partners – The functionality of the site is as important as the appearance of the pages. Nothing should be neglected!
What do your competitors offer on their websites?
Do not hesitate to visit your competitors’ websites to get inspiration. Like this you will be able model your own website after the unique strengths of the various web strategies presented by your competition. Indeed, you should build your site by adding in different elements present on the different sites that belong to other businesses in your field.
When visiting a competitor’s website, it is tempting to focus only on what is “badly done” while overlooking the positive elements. Don’t just profit from identifying and avoiding the mistakes of your competition, but try to remain objective enough to point out the strengths of your competitors’ websites. If these companies succeed in attracting customers and selling their services via the web, there are bound to be interesting practices to analyze.
Does your website support your commercial strategy?
Whether you sell your products directly through your website or use it to promote your services, your website should support your commercial strategy and increase your sales. Your potential customers do not necessarily know you when they arrive on your site. They probably visited other sites before yours and your landing page is often the first point of contact between your company and future customers.
Your speech must therefore be clear and explain what you are selling and how your business is different from that of your competitors. Try to convince your visitors by using as much energy as you would if they were right there in front of you. Give them the desire to contact you rather than continue on their way. They came to your website because they seem interested in what you have to offer, it’s up to you to keep their attention make them stay!
What functions do you offer on your web site?
People want to get as much information as possible without having to look for it. If your website is well designed you will be able to automate certain tasks which will avoid overloading your means of customer support, thereby frustrating your visitors.
For example, you can display various information about things like the progress status of an order, the quantity of products in stock, or the ability to reserve a product online and pay in advance etc.
The fact that your customers want to reserve your products/services online or pay in advance (haircut, dentist appointment, restaurant reservation) saves you time and makes your website seem “convenient” to your customers.
Knowing how your business works allows you to analyze and determine which of your business processes can be transferred online.
Will you create your website yourself or go through a subcontractor?
Once you have set up the goals for your website, you will now be able to decide how to achieve them. If you plan to entrust the creation of your website to someone else, you should evaluate various developer skillsets first. If you want to use an external source, you must get several proposals before you make your final decision.
Many business owners are put to sleep by the commercial jargon of web agencies and quickly find themselves trapped. In order to not end up paying more than what you should and to be sure of the quality of the service offered, you can ask for references and guarantees from various agencies you meet with. Ask them as many questions as possible and see how they react. Do not forget that you are the customer and that there are many other agencies you can turn to. Take your time before making the final decision and do not let yourself be rushed by sales representatives who want to close the sale at all costs.
Also, note that it is possible to request for a website that you can manage by yourself afterwards. This will allow you to not fully depend on an agency, having to pay a fee for any small upgrade. The software allowing you to manage your website yourself without the need for advanced knowledge in IT is called a content management system or CMS (example: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento). For more information, see our article “Why use a CMS to create a website?”.
What budget do you have for the creation of your web site?
Your budget is often a critical point that needs to be addressed and sometimes can lead to bad decisions that can cost you more in the long run. When you start your website design project, you should have two separate budgets: a budget for the creation of your website and a budget related to its maintenance, hosting, promotion and updates (as customer expectations are increasing and changing every day).
The classic error (besides paying 5 times the normal price because you didn’t shop around) is to seek out the cheapest deal possible. Many web design agencies have understood that price is one of the most important factors influencing the purchase. These agencies can use a number of practices aimed at lowering their prices (in appearance) without you actually knowing what you’re getting yourself into. The web design industry suffers from a bad reputation due to these types of practices that adversely affect customer satisfaction.
So, be realistic when you set your budget and do not try to get a Ferrari for the price of an old used car. You will think you’re getting a good deal but you may be in store for many unfortunate surprises along the way.
We hope that this article will give you some ideas and answers to your questions.
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