Creating a website can be a rewarding investment if you approach the project with some key things in mind.
- What do you want to accomplish by having a site?
Whether you’re a photographer looking to present a polished portfolio or a retailer aiming to generate sales online, its good to document goals to measure yourself against. For many of our clients, this answer is some form of increased sales, improved revenue, more clients, greater exposure, etc. Your goals can help guide a number of decisions around navigation and the number and type of pages you need.
- Who is your audience and how do they use the internet?
Site functionality an usability is often where sites can fall short. Despite the fact that the internet has been around for some time it’s always good to take a second to consider the experience level of your ideal visitor. If you put content below the fold will they find it? If links are not clearly defined will they discover them?
- What will your visitors expect to gain from your site?
If you’re an insurance company visitors may want an online quote. If you’re a clothing retailer, folks will likely expect to be able to order online (I’m looking at you H&M). If you provide your visitors with what they want, and they can find it, they will likely return or convert or both.
- Do you want your visitor to take action? If so, what?
Take a minute to determine what action you want your site traffic to take once they arrive. This should be an extension of number 1 (above). Are there multiple actions? If so, prioritize them keeping in mind the secondary goals should ultimately feed into the number 1 overall big conversion goal. Ideal big conversions would likely be a sale of some kind, a new project, new contract, a quote or a contact me form submission. Smaller conversions may look like a download, RSS subscription or social media engagement. Does your site have the components needed to hit these conversions? Is the path logical and easy to navigate?
The point here is that if just having an online address is your goal that’s perfectly fine. If your goals are more don’t expect that simply putting up a site will result in customers waiting at your virtual door. Even if they do make it there that’s not a guarantee they will buy.
photo credit: John Martinez Pavliga