Four Opportunities That You Should Not Overlook in Your Website Project
When embarking on a website project—be it a new site or a redesign—it is easy to get excited by the possibilities. What is harder to do is keep your eyes on more boring fundamentals that will force you to make some tough decisions. This article brings up some of the most important fundamentals. So stop and think about the following points. Hopefully at least one of these will help you make your website an even bigger success.
Use your budget wisely.
Well, duh! OK, this seems obvious, but how wisely you use your budget is entirely dependent on how you gather your wisdom. If you are not building a new website every few months, you probably need some help from an experienced pro (like us.) Many medium-size businesses think of a website as a monolithic product—it is not. Websites have infinite possibilties so it is easy to dream up features that sound like good ideas but only make the site overly complex and less useable. Determine where your money is best spent. A good starting point is: Does the site need a visual design focus or a content focus? You likely do not have enough budget for both.
This is not a decision between a beautiful site and an ugly site—no one decides to make an ugly site. Just put a priority on the two so you know where your money should be spent. Cutting edge design takes a lot time through many iterations to get to the best presentation. At the same time, content is harder to develop correctly than most people realize. Each business will have its own emphasis. In most business-to-business situations content pays off better. But a restaurant has less content and is more focused on ambience or cuisine so good visual design is very important here.This is your opportunity to put your money where it will count.
Also, be realistic in your budgeting. Every year we all put more demands on what our websites should do for us, this makes websites more expensive than ever. Also, consider the team building your site. Sites are no longer built by your 14 year old nephew - unless your 14 year old nephew is really strong on content marketing concepts. If he is, he will be like the rest of us in that he wants to get paid for that knowledge and skill. No one wants to overspend, but trying to go cheap only gets you an unhappy team in the end and badly executed site. (Soon to come is a page on ”how much does a website cost”)
Carefully consider your partners.
You cannot build a successful website alone. Figure out your best resource for each part of your website’s life. In many cases it may be the same company who built it, particularly for smaller sites. For instance, we pride ourselves on building excellent sites and contributing to their performance long after they are launched. But some websites are more complicated than that. They need some people who are focused on visual design, while others focus on programming in the site. It depends. Do be sure that you have someone focusing on structuring your content. And most important: be sure someone is in charge or thingg will be dropped between the cracks.
If you require a specific system is used for your website, be sure you have a partner with strong experience in that system. Many a website has been hobbled by poorly implemented systems just because an inexperienced developer thought they could do it.
Listen to the experience and guidance of the partners you choose. Sometimes what seems like a great idea to a site owner is a dead end that your site developer has seen before. Tell them what you are trying to achieve, not how you want it done. You will get better, more current recommendations from your partners. (If you chose well.)
Finally, don’t be shocked to learn that one company has hired another to take on a specific part of the site. The web is much more complicated than it was in the early days. Some specialization should be expected.
Rethink your content.
In the past the content was basically “what we do” or “what we sell” that was developed by writing "this sounds good" or "use our org chart as a guide" approach to copy. This turns out to be proven wrong every day. Instead focus on what your content means to visitors… not just "what you sell," but how you solve a problem or improve a situation. Audience engagement and SEO are intertwined in your content. You must view these as one thing.
Context is a huge factor that many site owners overlook. The thinking is that "my audience will know what I am talking about." But what if an assistant of that person is doing the research? What if it is a purchasing agent? Will they really know they are at the right place?
Realize that you are not just presenting your pages to visitors. You also presenting yourself to search engines that are trying to understand your content. Search engines are not working for you, they are working for searchers. They want to show their customers the most relevant results and it is up to you to make that clear.
These pages are not just about how we “offer web redesign services” but about how to effectively redesign a website. That is good for you as a searcher and it is good for us when you find us. The fact that we do website redesign projects is no big deal. There are thousands of companies capable of it. But how many are engaging their prospects before the prospects makes any decisions? Plus, how many are giving Google a thorough view of their services with a complete context? Not that many and this is your chance for a competitive advantage.
Think about your mobile audience.
If your site is targeting consumers this is not even a choice. You are probably near—or over—50% smart phone traffic. And know that unless you have some overriding reason to the contrary, you should be using a "responsive layout" where the layout changes when it senses the smaller screens of mobile devices. This is Google's recommended method, as opposed to point mobile to a different site using different URLs.
Business-to-business sites vary greatly in mobile traffic, but one thing is certain, growth in mobile traffic shows no signs of letting up. Since it is very difficult to “add on” mobile layouts after a site is built, this may be the best time to make the commitment to mobile traffic. You already have some mobile traffic, and this will make them very happy.