Questions you must ask before building your website
BELOW are some important questions to ask that will help you and your web designer create an effective online presence for your business.
Defining your website's function
One thing that most business owners don't take into account when looking for a website is "what result am I trying to achieve?"
You can't always be sure web designers will make an effort to find out, either. In my experience, some web designers can sometimes focus too much on the aesthetics of your website and not enough on what's important - its function.
The function is the reason for having the website in the first place - the result you want it to achieve.
Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means saying that aesthetics aren't important. How the website looks is very important. Just be careful it's not the only focus.
You have to be clear on your website's goal. Are you trying to generate leads? Are you trying to make sales? Is the goal of your website just to have a presence, for branding purposes? Once you know what you're aiming for, you can have your website created purposely with that specific goal in mind.
If you're trying to generate leads into your business, do your prospective clients have the ability to give you their contact details? Are you even asking for them? A great way to capture lead details is to trade them for it. "To receive your free report/value add/complimentary gift, simply enter in your name and email address here."
Ease of use
Another important factor is ease-of-use for the prospect. Is the phone number clearly visible, or is it buried somewhere on a contact page that's hard to find? How many clicks does it take visitors to find it? Remember, people tend to look at the top right of a website first, so a clear and large phone number there will do the trick.
Are you able to view your website just as well on a mobile device as you can on a computer? According to Google's resource guide The Mobile Playbook, 57 per cent of users say they won't recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, and 40 per cent have turned to a competitor's site after a bad mobile experience. Those numbers are simply staggering!
The aim is to make your website an active member of your team - whether it's a member of your marketing team (lead generation) or sales team (making sales) - not a static online brochure, which many websites are.
Why not get your website working harder for you?
In fact, here is a great question to ask yourself about either your current website or the new website you're considering: Would you hire your website if it was a person? Does it effectively communicate with your prospects? Does it easily and regularly capture their details? Does it make sales for you? Have you been holding it accountable? Setting targets? Having sales meetings? In fact, has it even been showing up to work? As in, can it be FOUND?
Most websites would've been fired a long time ago if they were employees.
Like all good business plans, start with the end result in mind. Work backwards to find out specifically what is required to fulfill on that result and ensure that you tick all the boxes. Especially online, where you only have three seconds to capture people's attention before they move to your competition.
This article first appeared on Flying Solo, Australia's solo & micro business community.To read more from Mike Smith and for small business support and advice, visit www.flyingsolo.com.au