What are the most important ingredients in a successful website?
Many web designers focus on the design elements that need to be included on a successful website. Yes, responsive design is important, yes intuitive navigation is important, yes a fast website is important, and so are clear contact details. And while these elements have their merits, before the conversation even reaches this level of detail, and before the code even hits the page (pardon my pun) it is vital to have a clear understanding of your customers. From here, all these design elements will be informed logically. They’ll flow like water down a ducks back, like water down a river…you get the picture.
Good web design is listening to your customers
Good web design is ultimately informed by the needs of the customer or the end user, not the web designer, not what’s in trend, or even your competitors (who often get it wrong). You should be focussing clearly on solving your customers problems to build a successful website. And this involves getting to knowing their behaviour intimately and understanding their pain points. You should have a very clear understanding of all this before you consider things like whether you need a sliders or videos, what colors and fonts you would like to use, or even perhaps that section with a great offer and mailing list functionality that you’ve been obsessing over.
The 5 Steps
The next 5 steps below cover the essential pre-website thought processes which you should consider BEFORE you even begin to think about what your website should look like, or even approach a web design company. Some of these question may come as a surprise, perhaps you haven’t even thought about them before, or perhaps they’ve changed over time.
1. What greater purpose are you trying to achieve?
Think carefully about what problems you are trying to solve for your customers and why those problems are important. Understanding your mission is vital. We need to know where we’re heading before we cast the sails into the open ocean. It helps us frame our end result and provides a solid platform on which to develop our marketing ideas.
2. What products and services do you bring to market in order to achieve your “why”.
Think about your current suite of products and services and try to identify those that have the most impact on your customers and the business. Which products are the most profitable and generate the most referrals? Which services do you enjoy delivering the most? List your products and services in order of value in terms of helping you achieve your “why”.
3. What is your Unique Value Proposition?
What makes your product or service unique in the marketplace and what differentiates it from the competition. This is a VITAL piece of the puzzle. The internet is extremely competitive, so you need to be a step ahead of the competition. You need to think very carefully about how you provide value to your customers and how you can offer more than your competitors.
4. Who stands to benefit the most from your products and services?
Think carefully about who your target customer is. Get physical. What does your ultimate customer look like? Age, gender, interests, what they want, how they buy, where and how they communicate. The more you understand you customer, the easier it will be to target them and the more effective your marketing will be.
5. Define the biggest problem or frustration your marketplace has and the tools you have in your toolkit to help them.
Knowing your customers pain points identifies opportunities. You need to have a clear idea of your marketplace and the problems faced by your customers to enable you develop strategies to help them solve these problems.
Thinking about all this before you approach a web designer could save you a lot of time and money.
It might seem like a lot of work, but the point of all this is to clearly define where your business is heading BEFORE you go ahead and hire a web designer to build your website. We see a lot of sites that are just built because the business owner believes that they need a certain feature, mostly because the competition has it or because they have seen other websites with it. Sometimes that feature provides a solid ROI, but a lot of the time once the site is built the owners realise that their investment doesn’t really reflect their anticipated return.
Don’t make this mistake. If your web designer doesn’t ask the questions above, you need to ask them why.
At Switched On Web Design, we love asking why. It’s what we do to ensure that we only build you what you need and nothing that you don’t.
Get in touch today if you’d like to chat about your website. We offer a no obligation free 30 minute consultation. Book now below.