So you say you are about to build a website… This is an exciting time for your business! You cannot wait to get started…But now what?
Regardless if you build a website yourself or you are having someone build a website for you, it’s important to have your ducks in a row. Those “ducks” are your prospects, customers, and you (in that order intentionally). For a website to be a proper representative of your business, external and internal goals must be in alignment with each other. That alignment comes in the form of two questions…
What are the goals of the business?
You may have already figured out your business goals. However, are those goals relevant and achievable when taken through to the website? And are those goals measurable?
Let’s assume for a moment that you want to get leads from your website. That’s great! But how are you planning to do that? Will you be trying to get business organically? If so, then you’ll want to include SEO as a part of website development. Will you be trying to get business through paid advertising? If that’s the case, then you’ll need online advertising to drive visitors to your website. Do you want to know if the website is working as intended? Here again, you’ll need another tool for reporting. And the list goes on and on…
The point is to make sure that you write down what you want the website to do for you. Too many people get caught up in what we call the “online brochure” – all looks, no delivery. Unfortunately, people will spend mounds of money and time on the “look and feel” of their website but have no clear plan on what the website should do for their business.
What are the goals of your customer?
I am sure you thought you had it down pat when you figured out your company goals for the website. But alas, you don’t have a business without customers. So it would stand to reason that you must understand your customers’ needs as well. You do this by asking a simple question – What does your customer want from your website? If you have existing customers, take that time to approach them personally or digitally (i.e., survey) to ask them what they would find valuable on your website.
To show the contrast that can occur between your business goals and the customer’s goals, consider this: Many companies will focus their goals on the acquisition part of the business (a.k.a. getting new customers or leads). However, when you go out to get the customers’ perspective, you’ll find that they will mostly want features that will make their day-to-day jobs easier. Don’t be surprised if a customer says something like, “I want to be able to access my account statements.” That’s just one example of many. Answers like these actually fall into the category of retention (not acquisition). Think about it…If your website makes their job easier, they’ll keep coming back to the website, keeping your business at the top of their minds.
To build a website these days is so very different from back in the early days. They are not just online brochures anymore. The inception of apps and SaaS products have truly pushed the website space into becoming something more useful. So, to be competitive online, you’ll need to follow suit.
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