What to determine before commissioning your new website
Whether you are rebranding an established company or starting up, your new website is your online identity and integral to marketing your brand and converting prospects into customers successfully.
Websites are a visual representation of your business. They communicate what you do, who you are, how you will help, and why you should be picked. Therefore, it must evoke trust, establish credibility, and get found by the right people.
From a restaurant planning a revamp, or a group of accountants setting up their own practice by breaking away from a big corporation, to a drinks manufacturer trying to attract new retail partners – a website will be the initial door that visitors step through to become customers.
We’ll go over what resources and services you’ll require and what you need to determine so that your new website is a direct reflection of your business.
Your website team
Who will create your new website? Curating the perfect team of trusted suppliers for the job is one of the first things I do when I’m managing a client’s new website.
I recommend using a Search Engine Optimisation expert to investigate your market environment, see what your competitors are doing and identify what key words your target market are already using in online search to find your products or services. This ensures you have a clear brief for your copywriting and a specific focus for each page on your website.
Finding the web developer and platform that best suits your business needs and budget is next on the agenda. Take a look at the sites they’ve already delivered to their existing clients and what post launch support they offer. I advise clients on what they need from a hosting platform and whether they need a dedicated server or a shared hosting environment, which you may also find useful to do. The web developer can also assist you in setting up a website hosting agreement.
You’ll need a photographer to create a library of images that reflect your brand whether that be the people or products, the style of your images will help set an expectation of the value you offer. If you don’t have the time or the experience you’ll also need a copywriter to produce excellent copy for the content of your website that shares your brand message.
If you’ve never mapped out your customer journey, now’s the time to do so. From the moment a potential buyer first hears about you, to completing a purchase, what are the steps they need to go through? How do they gain the know, like, and trust factors on this journey? And how can your website guide them easily through that? The key here is to deliver the best possible user experience so that customers not only have a great experience first time round, but keep coming back.
Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. You are going to need to detail specific aspects of your business identity so that it can be communicated clearly. One of the things I find the most useful and is often the hardest to write down is: how do you describe yourself in as few words as possible?
You also need to know: what makes you so special, why should I choose you over your competition?
And finally: how would I, as a customer, convey you to a stranger, or a potential client?
Does your description introduce the company culture, its purpose, why it exists, and its values? If it doesn’t, drill down into each of these and ask for help if you need it. Existing client and customer surveys can give priceless insights.
Your core focus
Setting a core focus for your company, represented by your website, is really important to achieve the most powerful first impression on your homepage. So, it’s important to fully understand and appreciate the nuances of your business’s strengths and its story; about you and your personality, the core ingredients as to what makes the business so special, when it was launched, and why, including any qualifications and awards.
When my clients are at this stage of planning for their website, my job is to distil these answers down into a clear, unified, lasting message that reflects them – this can be critical to competitive strategy. It serves as the headline that stands for everything a business represents.
The design solution
Once you’ve determined your messaging, it can then be amplified in the website’s design using photographic styling, shape, your brand colours and fonts, all in a recognisable design template.
The design solution can also enhance the image of individual products and services that you offer. It can make some seem more important, better value, or premium for example. On my client’s projects, I help them articulate and communicate their brand to their web development team so that when the finished creative is delivered the company is correctly represented.
Customer decision making
Background information about why someone needs the solution you offer can start to clarify the current pain points of your lowest hanging fruit, including when, where and how these customers will use you.
You need to determine: your business's primary service or product, the business sector, geographic area of clients, gender and age of clients, lifetime of a client (think about what type of client you keep the longest), and your perfect client persona.
With this information you can immediately engage with your perfect target audience by sign-posting solutions to their problems on the homepage and all your landing pages.
What matters to your clients
To turn site visitors into clients, we need to know what matters to them. It is highly valuable to know things like: what do they believe? Who do they trust? What do they care about? What improvement are they looking for? What do they talk about? Who do they talk to? What do they fear?
This will assist in the choice of photographs used on your website so your target audience can immediately connect visually (as well as verbally) with what you are telling them.
It is also important to keep on top of what’s out there in your sector. Name three or four websites of competitors or businesses that you aspire to emulate, like how they present themselves or what they offer. This is a good insight into what might be working for other companies in terms of attracting similar potential clients.
What does the future hold
Identify the potential opportunities and objectives of your business focus moving forward to future proof your possible needs for web development in the next 2-5 years. Examine what you have already been doing specifically aligned to these goals, and what has generated interest against what hasn’t. Of special interest will be the style of messages you have used and ensuring your website has longevity.
…and breathe! Building a business website from scratch or even remodelling an existing website can seem daunting. But by breaking down the preparation work and tackling each task one by one, sure enough you will be ready to press ‘go’ and commission your new website – and one that will grow with you and your business.
Some great tips on what to determine before commissioning your new website. Do you feel ready to engage with trusted suppliers to get the website built, or perhaps seek out assistance with your preparation work?
If you crave support and clarity from a highly experienced, independent Marketing Consultant who can advise on what you should and should not be doing, help you establish and grow your business and attract the customers you deserve, please GET IN TOUCH.