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What you need to know before starting your website design.

You may or may not have been through building a website before.  It might not have been a great experience.  You’re likely not an expert in building a website and you shouldn’t have to be.  You’re focused on being an expert in your industry.  So in this case you’re hiring an expert to build a website for your organization.

As a business owner it’s important not to repeat mistakes.  I often talk to organizations that repeat the same process with web developers and they fall into the same trap with bad service and bad expectations regarding their website project.  Yes, website design is a service, not a product.

So what are the most important things you need to be concerned with before moving forward with your website?  Depending on your industry this could be a large list!  So let’s focus on some key items that will build a foundation for a great working experience with a web development company.

Here are 5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Developing Your Website.

1. What is the goal of your website?

I talk often with people who have strong assumptions on what their website does or doesn’t do and sometimes what it should or shouldn’t do.  Sure there are some obvious things a website can and should do for a business, but you need to be as specific as possible in this case to drive the strategy and development of your website.

What works >  Use Google Analytics to drive website re-design decisions.  Data is a key driving factor for how to build your website for your ideal users and customers.

2. Who is your audience?

When starting on a new website you have to be a specific about who your user is.  This is often a forgotten detail.  Your users need to connect emotionally and be influenced to interact with your business.  This is the gateway for turning users into customers.

What works >  Create user personas to influence the messaging on your website.  Know your ideal customer and how they might feel about using your website considering your industry.

3. What should users to do on your website?

If you’re setting up an e-commerce website, you should know that not every visitor buys something.  So what is a reasonable goal for new visitors?  Signing up for an e-mail list?  Following your social network channels?  These are important details in order to effectively market to your customer.

What works > Setup a sound marketing strategy that will include e-mail marketing and content strategy to build awareness in your industry.

4. How will your organization use the website after it’s built?

Too often websites become a “churn and burn” process for businesses.  You can’t expect great results from simply showing up on the internet.  You need to have an ongoing plan in place to effectively use your website to grow your business.  Your organization and development company both should play a part in this.

What works > Ask your developer to train you how to use your website to have daily control but allow the developer to create an effective plan for you to succeed in your goals.

5. What type of support do you need?

There are some obvious items to consider for support.  One of the biggest items to consider is security.  You can’t risk allowing your data or your customer’s data to be at risk, so keeping your website secured is essential.  Secondly, you need to have a plan to scale your website with regards to traffic and performance.  Your website developer should know how to guide you through regarding a plan to scale.

What works > Define a support plan that includes security and hosting details that will allow you to be prepared for future growth of your website.

There are more items to consider to have the best experience for your website, but this is a short list to get you off and running towards a productive project and productive results for your business and your website.   Start your conversation here and allow your questions to get more detailed.

Best of luck on the project!

Cody Landefeld

co-founder at Mode Effect. ECommerce consultant. Coram deo.

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