When designing a website it can be almost impossible to determine where to start. However, we believe that if you consider the following ten considerations you will end up with a far better end product. In fact, we use this checklist with each and every one of our clients to determine what direction to take the project in.
This is absolutely the first question you need to answer. For certain companies this is an easy answer, for others, there are multiple answers which hence demands greater consideration. The answer to this question will ultimately determine your layout, the depth of information, the language use as well as the imagery. Does your end-user have a good understanding of your product, a great understanding of your product or no understanding at all? Thus the first question that allows you to answer these sub-questions is, who are you targeting?
The next most important question you MUST ask is what is the objective of your website? Is it there because you need a website? Are you going to leverage it as a marketing tool? Or is it the centre of your business? After working out which of these three categories your fall into, you will inevitably have your budget. For option one, you should be able to get an incredible website for no more than 5k, for option two you should really be spending between 5-10k and for the final option you need to be spending at least 10k to guarantee you have a website that will truly work for you and your investment will not go to waste.
The next logical question that follows is what is the actual goal? Is the goal to get people to check out, or to get people to learn more about your services or is it to get people to fill in your customer details? Your answer might be all three of these, if this is the case rank them in order. As an eCommerce site, the first goal might be to get customers to contact details, then you know that this is the best first step to getting them to eventually convert.
This question is important as it will determine which platform you want to use. For example, if you don't need to update content, then WordPress might be an ok option, however, if you want to update content regularly, then something like Gatsby JS connected to a user-friendly CMS will save you hours of pain... time is money (I am not sure what saved pain is worth). If you don't need to update content then you can also save money in the development process as this will save your developer time.
Increasing customer confidence is a sure-fire way to increase conversions. If you have some dodgy-looking chatbot, a contact form and no address, no phone number and no email... No one is going to trust your website. So try incorporating reviews, add a live chat service, make sure your address and phone number is obvious so people feel reassured that they can contact you if they have any issues.
There are two main ways you can maintain relationships with customers, one is via "renting the relationship" from an advertising platform and retargeting your visitors, the other is by capturing their information and owning the relationship. Clearly one of these options is more sustainable, so consider how you intend on capturing these customer details, this might be by offering discounts for emails, offering extra features for those with accounts like a rewards system or prompting users to join your newsletter.
Having real contact information helps users feel more secure, especially for e-commerce, it is reassuring to know that they have options to get in contact should something go wrong with their order. However, there are some things to consider, a simple contact form is often no longer enough and providing an email and address can help give your website that extra feeling of trust. Adding a phone number can also be great if you have the means to take these incoming calls, however as soon as you put a phone number on your website you will become the target of salespeople and scams.
Additional considerations should be:
This is extremely important, as we mentioned in our post about choosing a business name, scalability is again essential in choosing how to design and build your website. It is not enough to consider building a website that fit your current needs and you should anticipate where your needs will be in one, two or even five years from now.
Hence, ensure you can add new features, build out additional pages with different developers and use hosting that will be able to scale as your traffic increases. Also, consider how you will create and website site backup in the case that your website becomes corrupt.
Different CMS's have different strengths, it is essential to consider what is most important to your business. For instance, if SEO is important, you may opt to go with a content management system that automatically optimises new content for speed. You also need to ensure you can at least update existing content on your website using the CMS so as your services change.
Now if you choose to go with a designer that is separate from your developer then it is essential to connect them with a developer. Having a separate developer and designer is going to be the most expensive option when it comes to the overall cost. This is because a developer will have certain skills and their in-house designers will play into these skills to create a seamless design that works with their preferred platform. Hence, if you choose an un-experienced designer, they may create a design that does not translate into a real functioning website efficiently.
Content can have a large impact on the design of your website, for example, bright pink photos likely won't work with a red background, large slabs of text might cause a design to become unbalanced. Hence, to get the BEST outcome from your design provide your content to the designer at the start.
Social proof just like contact information promotes trust. There are numerous ways by which you can incorporate your social proof. This may be by presenting reviews, explaining previous projects, adding customer photos, connecting social media profiles or link to media articles that reference your brand.
There are many considerations to make before beginning the design process of a website and there are many different things that will save you both time and money if you consider them at the start of the project rather than at the end.
If you are in need of design and development expertise feel free to reach out through our contact form.