Too many businesses fail miserably at good web site design.
Every web site is a living/breathing digital asset and has to be developed accordingly.
Your business is just homesteading on social media platforms but you own your web site.
Don’t even think about developing a web site until you’ve done a deep dive customer focus.
In start up “billion dollar” speak this is called a persona profile. It’s an exercise you want to go through.
- Has a dedicated customer profile exercise been done?
- How has the customer journey been mapped?
- Who tests usability issues within the company?
- Who owns the customer experience?
- Who responds and/or addresses questions from customers via social media?
- Is a customer relationship technology or platform being utilized?
- Do you have an internal FAQ and external that addressed common customer issues and questions?
- How do you ensure a consistent high quality experience for the customer across all digital touch points?
Over the years one of the most challenging issues all agencies face far too often is web site is driving marketing strategy.
It should be the other way around: don’t think about web site design as a “bolt on” to your business strategy.
In the end it’s going to cost you money and waste a lot of time.
Work on your marketing strategy and marry left and right brain issues: branding, design, User Interface, content structure, lead generation and sales funnel integration.
Once you really know who the customer is you can map out other critical marketing strategies that should be baked in to your design.
- What’s the product or service going to sell for and how to you communicate this to the market?
- How do analytics and sales funnel metrics tie into the web site; what’s a lead or desired outcome for a visitor other than perusing the site.
- What’s your content marketing strategy and how does it mesh with your web site?
- Sense of urgency drivers for the web site. What calls to action are desired for the visitor?
- Legacy content and information; how will this be archived in a meaningful way to continue to drive traffic.
- An understanding of the importance of great Titles and Section headers. These drive the visitors into the web site and help to generate revenue, sales leads and engagement.
- You’ve done a persona profile analysis right? Does your design team understand how to build a web site that piques the interest of and engages this target?
- Cloud integration: apps, third party services, appropriate server and/or hosting vendor.
- Understanding users “read” web site content in F Shaped Patterns.
Tactical Web Site Design Gotchas that Must Be Addressed
- For good function web site design, think in iterative processes: 1.0 then 2.0 – don’t get bogged down into feature creep. It’s a time killer and 60 day project can easily turn into 3-4 months.
- Give your designers (in house or agency) enough leeway to give them buy in to the project. You have to balance your business objectives with the creative process.
- Build your site on a test server first and assess all functionality; then, move to your standard server.
- Hosting is now almost all generic and the biggest “gotcha” we see with hosting is crowded servers. If your not using a dedicated Server like RackSpace who you use (assuming standard CPanel access is in place) makes little difference who you use.
- Don’t stand up a web site without some kind of sales funnel with at least “crude A/B testing for product or service sales and an integrated newsletter list.
- To a certain extent you get what you pay for. The web is loaded with funky looking web template sites where “price” was the overriding factor and many of them reflect what was invested. These markets are crowded and your web site look and feel is a key determinant of branding and customer perception.
- Recognize 30-50% of your traffic is coming in via mobile – let this be one of the key determinants of your design (UX/UII): less is more.
Here’s a link to a standard two page informal questionnaire we use on all web site design projects that should be helpful in Word format.
You can Synthesize every Web Site Down into these four Steps
Content Strategy: what’s the purpose of the web site and how does it pique the interest of the visitor?
Information Architecture: what’s the structure of content on each page (text, images, videos, menus)?
Visual Design: how do images or video work with the content and enhance the information architecture?
Development Process: making the content, information architecture, lead gen system all work together seamlessly.
Smartphone Summary for Time Challenged Execs
Don’t think of a web site as an asset you invest in and then ignore. You’re wasting marketing resources if you do.
Great web sites are dynamic, with frequency updates to the core content and of course your blog.
Remember, you “get what you pay for” with design and images.
Getty images are much higher quality than most of the low cost dreck that passes for quality images used via many sites.
Last but not least. Infrastructure is so often overlooked as an integral part of web site design.
Your server provisioning, hosting provider, integrated apps and forms and even your Domain Name provider settings are all critical parts of great web site design.