Whether the boss tasked you with this web design project or you are the boss – you’re busy and anxious to get this project done. Maybe you’re excited to see the finished project (you should be right?!), but in the hustle and bustle it’s easy to lose sight of the finer details that can make or break your website’s success when its launched.
Focusing on the end result and how great it will look is fine and will keep you motivated, so long as you’ve taken the time to plan the important pieces of the process. In order of importance, I’ve listed 7 key areas to think about before getting into discussions with a web design firm. All of these points are all critical components in a successful website design:
- Competitive Analysis: What is the competition doing (right and wrong) online?
- What is your value proposition?: Why should I do business with you vs. your competition? (Read more on the importance of value proposition)
- How will you measure success? What analytics tools do you have available and do you or your staff know how to analyze success?
- Conversion Tactics (if your a B2B/B2C Business): What types of offers will you include on the new site upon launch (and after) to increase sales?
- Content: What content will you include on the website? How will it be grouped together and organized for ease of consumption?
- Site structure & Navigation: How will the layout work towards your goals and how will users navigate to each area of your site?
- Look & Feel: What image would you like the website to portray to visitors about your company?
Notice that I’ve listed the look and feel of the site last. While the look is an important factor, it’s not nearly as important as knowing where you’re going and how your website will pay for itself before you start thinking visually.
Solution: Work with a web design firm that can help you through the planning process. Begin scoping out companies early on and interview them by asking specific questions about how they can assist you in planning your project.
Most design firms offer a discovery process as an early deliverable in the web design process. During the discovery and research process, they will very likely uncover important facts that you may not even be aware of in the competitive landscape that will help you in planning your website. Consider this process as a valuable investment in your website’s future and a plan that’s focused on helping you to visualize your website less as a digital billboard, but moreso as a revenue stream that you have the ability to influence and grow.
photo credit: klynslis