Planning a Website: Why Strategy Beats Design
What to do first Before Beginning to Design your Business Website
We have all see it before, you get excited and hire a web designer to build your ideal website, you give them a walkthrough of what you’re looking for and excitedly wait for the big reveal.
Then disaster strikes and you say “You’ve got it all wrong.”
Design dollars are wasted, revision starts. Everyone scratches their head and wonders where everything went wrong. And before you know it a simple project turns into a nightmare.
Without a map it is easy to get lost in an unfamiliar territory. The same is true for website development, before you start you really need a solid plan in place.
That’s the difference between working for a solo entrepreneur or a design firm. A marketing team of the design firm can help you do the proper due diligence and analysis needed to make sure the website designed truly meets their needs.
Truly Much of what happens can be broken down into part:
Defining your ideal clients is one of the most important steps before building a website. the more better you are at identifying who you’re clients are the easier it will be to cater to their needs when they visit your site.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while doing an ideal client analysis:
- Who do you have a passion for serving?
- Are they male of female?
- What are their biggest pains
- What level are they at their business: experts, established or newbies?
- What are their values?
- What are their biggest goals?
- What is their personality?
This clarity helps you laser-focus on the messaging and how it will speak to these members.
Everyone has some basic needs. Knowing and understanding the pains faced by your audience is key to serving them. Tell them how to overcome their pains or tell them how your product will alleviate the pain.
Most prospects haven’t heard about you upon their first encounter with your website. So it’s your job to build trust and inform them that you have the knowledge and experience and proven track record.
Credibility comes with proving to your audience and sharing stories of how you have fulfilled the needs of your clients through testimonials, media clippings and blog articles. Showcasing the education, training and credentials you achieved also shows prospects you have expertise in what you do.
Another important function of web design in telling the designer how your website should function. The layout will differ basis on the business goals.
- What is the goal of your website?
- Will it be an online store?
- Do you want to build a list and online community?
- Are you selling services?
- Is your website an online brochure?
Knowing all this the user will come to know if your website needs a chat tool, email list management software, online booking tool, or other specific features in order to support your vision.
Knowing the path you want visitors to go and take the desired action helps your designer put the right elements in place to accomplish that.
LOOK and FEEL
If you have ever gone shopping with your friends you will understand that both of you have different tastes. The same is true when you design a website.
Even though you might have elicited what you envisioned, the designer may have different viewpoint in what to develop. The goal for both of you is to create a visual brand that is appealing to the target market. It is to say to them that they are in the right place.
Before sending the designer color samples and other websites which you want your website to look like, consider creating a brand standard guide first that encompasses the colors, fonts and style of your overall business brand. This should be done at the time of designing your logo since your logo functions as the basepoint of your brand.
The key to remember is that your building a website which will accompany your business built for your target audience and not for you personally. Yes for many entrepreneurs building a website based on personality is directly infused into your brand but it could be that the personality may be different from the look and feel. It all depend on who you are trying to attract to your business.
It doesn’t hurt to still send your designer sample websites that you like and be specific about what exactly you like about them. That kind of feedback is very valuable especially with the layout and overall messaging of the site.