One of the core problems people face with a website is that they plan for success. They make a list of items they want on a website. They make a list of items they do not want on a website. What people tend to miss is what "defines success" to be considered a success. In this article we will discuss items to make your website a success.
The most important item when looking for a new website or a website redesign is having goals and expectations of what a success website will be. You need to know what defines "success" for your project. Are you looking for more visitors, visitors that stay on your site for long periods of time and visit a lot of pages, people to fill out contact forms, download documents, etc. By defining this before you begin you can more clearly look at all of the other parts of the plan.
As we go through each of the steps below you may have to step back to a previous item as items may change. If your initial thought for your site was to be an online brochure but changes to be lead generation or customer support the expectations will need to be adjusted to gauge the new objective(s) of your website.
This seems like the most obvious item for any project but often the last one to be discussed or thought of. In fact, we prefer to have an initial budget right after we’ve defined our goals and expectations so that as we are defining all aspects we can see if we are adding to the original project scope or taking functionality away and saving money. As you work through each step below you will need to adjust your goals and expectations. By budgeting in the beginning you will have a clear indication of all of the bells and whistles you can include and help prioritize the success of the project.
No matter how big or small a project is there will be key individuals involved in your website design. This may be a sole person to an entire team. Each person should know what they are responsible for. There needs to be a central point-of-contact so that clear communication can be made between the company and the designer. This will not only get the product delivered more rapidly but also remove and miscommunication between multiple people asking for items that could conflict with another making the designer figure out who they should follow and who they should not for changes.
On the Internet there is a saying that "Content is King". This is not meant as a gender statement but one of how important content is to the success of your website. When you start looking at your website design you need to be thinking about the page content but also documents, blog articles, videos, pictures, photo galleries, slideshows, and social media integration to name just a few. When creating your content, a key component is making certain everything answers your visitor's questions while also being concise, to the point, and in a single unified voice.
A wireframe is a simple design layout of how the site is desired to look. This can be as simple as a single hand drawn sketch to more elaborate multi-page layouts. During the wire framing process you will see usability changes that are needed to get your point across for the success of the project. During the wire framing process you also need to be thinking about how your website will load (faster is better) and how it will look on different size devices, where your company logo will be.
No one wants to go to an ugly website. Make certain your colors are crisp, clear, and match your company brand standards. If you don’t have any brand standards now is an opportune time to establish one for marketing your business and getting your brand message out there.
Wait I want WOW! You do and you don’t. If you push your computer to having flying in animations, fancy rotating graphics, and items that distract rather than bring your audience in they will be more interested in the "pretties" more than the actual use of the site. All too often we run to a site and we are amazed at the animations on a site that we either forget why we went there or think that they spend too much time trying to wow us rather than answering my questions.
Speaking of success, we need to define the objectives of the site to achieve the success. This will include call-to-action buttons, forms, placement of pictures around text, and engaging your target audience.
Yes, we want to annoy our audience. Wait. Correct that. We want to NOT annoy our audience. All to often like the WOW factor above we see welcome landing pages which are really cool but also preventing us from gathering the information we need. As we start to read up pops another messaging further annoying us. As we start to leave the system pops up another last ditch effort to annoy us. All of this to generate a lead so that we can then follow up and annoy a person even more. Although we see the benefit of getting leads you want to make certain you do so in a manner that is not annoying.
You’ve now done everything above and your new awesome website is now live and ready to wow the world. You keep it updated every day since launching. A month down the road priorities changes as the website is not your primary job. This is where having maintenance plans come into work. A good maintenance plan will include items like YEXT, search engine optimization (SEO), website updates, SSL certificates, 24x7 security monitoring and updates, daily backups, listings on major local repositories, domain registration, and much more. A maintenance plan when done correctly should also work toward achieving that initial success that you defined.
Creating a new website or a website redesign the key for success is planning, creating an effective team that does include upper management, and has business goals and objectives in line. With proper planning a website that was originally design to just "be there" can become a true virtual employee that can increase your overall business exposure, build brand recognition, and always speak positively about your organization 24x7.
JM2 Webdesigners is a full-service, nothing outsourced, web design and marketing firm that specializes in helping establish your business brand. We work with you to achieve your goals for success, update your website monthly through a multitude of maintenance options. We do all of this for less while providing more than anyone else. We do this by keeping our prices low, working smart for you, and becoming a virtual employee of your business.