Thinking about having a new website developed may seem like a daunting task. There are design aspects, content considerations, social media strategies, and any number of other variables that cause “paralysis by analysis.” But it doesn’t need to be that way.
We like to think developing a new website is much like building a new home. Before a single brick is laid, you’ll want to choose a location, select an architect, talk about your ideas, and develop a plan. Then you’ll want to meet your builders, and get the process started. At Sharp Innovations, we’ll take you through a similar process to develop a new website. When you engage in our 6 –Step Discovery Process, our team will become the architects for your website, designing a plan and guiding you through steps that involve discovery, design, content, building, quality assurance, launch, and ongoing marketing.
Of course, before meeting with a website development company (your architect), it pays to give some thought to a few key factors that can affect the final product. Here are several items to think about before getting started:
- Why now, and why us?What are the specific reasons that you are considering a new website? List them out, and narrow them down to two or three specific “pains” that you are looking to address. This will help your website development company focus on addressing the things that are most important to you. In addition, you should think about what you want in a website partner, and what elements are most important to you (portfolio, location, experience, personal connection, reputation, ethics, etc.).
- What do you hope to achieve with your redesigned website?Some of our clients would like their website to simply serve as a support medium for other marketing efforts. Others have specific traffic and lead generation goals in mind. We encourage you to think about goals in terms of time increments—where do you want your company as a whole to be in 3 years? How about in 5 years? How can the website help you achieve those goals?
- Who is your target audience, and what action(s) do you want them to take?Who are your current customers and prospective clients? Approach your new website as being built for them, not for you. Strategize with key members of your company and survey your best clients to find out what’s working now, and what could be better. And don’t be afraid to think about your “ideal fit” clients, and how to target them better.
- What is your competition doing?Don’t turn a blind eye to your competitors. Spend some time scanning your competitors’ websites, taking stock of their messaging, the layout and design, any blogging or social media aspects, how they use technology (video, animation, portals, etc.), seasonal promotions, search optimization efforts, etc. Decide what you like and dislike about your competitors’ websites, and what you’d want to incorporate into your own site (or definitely avoid). Again, talking to your best customers can aid immensely in this effort.
- What can be repurposed from what you currently have?Review your current website’s navigation, content, and overall structure. Given some preliminary thought about what is truly needed, and what is just fluff. Remember to think about your target audience(s) again, as well your competitors. Having a strong understanding of your current site will help when it comes time to think about creating a new site. You might have some content and resources that need to be given more prominence, and you likewise might have superfluous materials and overly complex navigation elements that are just clouding the message.
As you might expect, there is a process to creating a well-conceived and properly executed website redesign. And the questions outlined above are just the beginning. But having worked with hundreds of clients in dozens of industries since 1999, we’re well-versed in helping to get things started. We encourage you to connect with a member of our strategic development team to find out more, or to embark on the first steps toward developing a new, more impactful website!