As I reflect over the years of designing websites for clients, I have experienced websites that have made fantastic progress for my clients business’ and ones that (while look nice) sit there and provide little value to the business.
First things first. This will not be a puppy’s and rainbows article. There will be some hard truths that you will not want to hear but my sincere hope isn’t to stroke your ego, its about getting websites that produce results. That’s what excites me.
Ok – Here we go
#1. I Want A Website That Looks Like….
The client often has things in their mind that they want:
“I want a big slider on the homepage and here’s what I want each of the 6 sliders to be.”
“I want an image here and the text to be dark blue.”
“I want an orange button here.”
Most often they’ve seen a competitors website that they liked and want one similar to theirs. I mean it’s human nature to see something you like and want it (or similar) for yourself, I get it. It has an awesome image, beautiful design, nice fonts and colors etc. Your boss loves it, and possibly even the Board of Directors too.
Here’s the problem.
You have no idea if that competitors beautiful website with the fancy sliders was a tremendous expense that produces no ROI – except look great.
Let me explain..
A website has two purposes.
1. Represent Your Brand – which is usually done through design imagery and aesthetics.
2. Convert Customers – this can measured in different ways – making your phone ring, getting email inquiries/leads, booking appointments, donations, signing up for your email marketing program etc.
In our case here – Mr. Client has fallen in love with #1. (now if that’s your only objective – then ok – mission accomplished). But most business’ would like their website to look fantastic AND convert customers.
How To Prevent This.
Repeat after me…. IT’S ABOUT YOUR VISITOR not about YOU! Early in your discussions with your website firm/person you should be having a discussion about what the purpose of the website is. If you looked back a year from now how will you determine if it was a success. So there should be two discussions, one about representing your brand and another about how you are going to take a visitor and convert them to take a specific action.
#2. Build The Website And They Will Come.
Many times clients can do all the right things. They have a website that looks great, and a plan is in place to convert visitors to take a specific action.
Everyone is stoked when the new website launches. Customers and coworkers are complimenting you on the new website. “It Looks Fantastic, it loads fast and looks great on mobile.”
Here’s the problem.
You don’t have enough visitors. Let’s say you have a conversion rate of 1%. That means that for every 100 visitors only 1 will take that action you want.
Now if you are only getting 10 visitors per week to visit your website – it’s going to be a long lonely journey my friend.
How To Prevent This.
The forgotten step. You spent soo much time and energy in creating your website (i.e. meetings, gathering content, images, revisions etc) that you overlooked a critical step.
You need to market and promote your website – after the launch!
How do you do that? – There are various things you can do from blogging to e-marketing, offline advertising, online-paid advertising etc. Check out this for more ideas.
#3. Whew, We Finally Launched The Website.
I would love to tell you that every website I design with a client is a home-run every time, but that would be a lie. Even though we check off every possible item on the successful website checklist – we still may not get it perfect.
Even though I (almost daily) try to keep up on design principles, writing excellent copy, conversion tactics, marketing etc. There are just some things we won’t know until they are out there in the real world running. This leads me to the 3rd website failure point.
DON’T VIEW YOUR WEBSITE AS A ONE-AND-DONE project.
Will more people click a red button or a blue button? What if we changed the image of X to image Y – would that get more people to click? What about your Headline or tag line, what if we changed those?
The only way you will know which tactics work is to test them (In the website biz – they call it A/B Testing).
There are two ways you can almost always improve any website 1. Increase your website visitors &/or…2. Increase your website conversion rate.
So after a period of time re-look at your website analytics and compare them to your goals you had at the beginning of the project.
So there you have it…in summary if you wan’t your next website project to fail just be sure to:
- Make your website all about what you want it to be.
- Assume people will flock to your website once it is up and running.
- Ignore your website for a few years until its time to do a re-design.
Want to make your website a success contact us to talk about your web project.