So…You’re Going to Build a Website. Here’s What You Need to Know:
Your company’s website is its window to the world. It’s where customers and prospects learn about the company and its products and services. It’s an important channel for engaging people and building relationships with them and a vital part of your digital experience. Because so many people do their research online before they ever reach out to your company, your website is the way you ensure you are part of their decision-making set. Because it’s so critical to your business, it’s important to build a website that will be engaging, relevant, on brand, and current.
In this seven-part blog series, you’ll learn how to decide if your website needs updating, efficiently execute a comprehensive update, and ensure your website is well positioned to drive growth. For this first post, we’ll be focused on deciding whether or not your website needs an update and what should happen after that decision is made.
First Things First: Should You Update Your Website?
So, how do you know if your website needs work? Updating your website takes time and resources, which can be significant depending on the size and complexity of your website. Therefore, you want to ensure you take on the project for the right reasons, not just because somebody said so.
What are good reasons for updating your website? Ask yourself these questions:
When was the website last updated?
If dinosaurs were still roaming the earth, it’s time to update.
Has your company strategy significantly changed?
If so, you need to ensure your website reflects the new direction.
Is your website easy to navigate and simple to use?
If prospects or customers have to work hard to find what they need, you’re not going to get their business. In this brave new marketing world, customers are in charge of their buying journey and, the easier you make it for them, the more likely you’ll get their business.
Does your website still match your company branding and positioning?
Having a mismatch between the external brand that you show on your website and your current market position can create a disjointed brand experience.
Do you have new products or services that are not represented on the website?
Over 80% of buyer’s decisions happen prior to talking to one of your salespeople. If someone can’t research your product online, they probably won’t ever buy it.
Is your website meeting your goals for engagement and conversion?
Continually updating your SEO and making technical updates to improve site speed and reliability are imperative to a good user experience.
Is your website mobile friendly?
If it’s not, this puts your business in the same category as cavemen. It’s a mobile world.
Is your website slow?
In this go-go world, we’ve been trained to expect things instantaneously. Don’t make customers or prospects wait for your web pages to load. They won’t come back.
Does your website offer visitors the digital experience they expect from your brand?
If you’ve hired the best people for the job everywhere else in your organization, but your digital experience lacks, you can’t expect customers to trust you—let alone become an advocate for your brand—if you aren’t giving them a phenomenal experience when they navigate to your website.
Depending on the answers to these questions, you may need to update your website. And, that update could be anything from a few simple tweaks to a full-blown redesign and re-architecting of your site.
Your Website Needs a Major Overhaul…What Now?
If you have decided that your website needs a major overhaul, just like an architect building a house, you will need to go through the five steps below:
1) Create a Plan
You cannot create a corporate website on your own. You need to build your team and have a strategy for the final product.
2) Build the Foundation and Walls
No house ever gets built without a blueprint and a schedule. Make a project schedule, create the information architecture (IA), and then, and only then, start the design.
3) Develop the Interior
A website is nothing without the content for which your prospects and customers are looking. Articulate the positioning and messaging for website content and create the content which will bring visitors to your door.
4) Decorate Inside and Out
Just because you build, it does not mean they will come. You need to drive traffic to your website, and then convert that traffic.
5) Maintain and Update
The only way to know if your website is successful is to track metrics that matter to your business. Before you launch, make sure you test, test, and test again. In this ever-changing world, your website is out of date as soon as it launches. Be sure you put in place a process for continuous updates.
To learn more about how to build a website, check out Step 1: Creating a Plan.