If you’re looking to overhaul your business website, or if you’re embarking on your very first one, you’re probably shopping around for a qualified web designer. You’ll quickly find that there are a multitude of different designers with varying mindsets and competing core values of what makes a good website.
Some will focus purely on making you a “pretty” or “cool” site, while others know the secret to websites that work — a customized strategy. I don’t even like to refer to these guys as “designers,” as it makes light of their true talent. Let’s call them “web pros” instead.
So how do you know if you’re dealing with a designer, versus a seasoned pro? It’s all in the questions they ask. Designers will likely focus on the aesthetics, with questions like “what colors do you like?” But a true web pro will lead with the types of questions that will actually get you results. But don’t worry — they will get around to the color question later.
So what exactly should your web pro be asking you before beginning work on your new website? Here are five that I always ask. Without knowing the answers to them, I couldn’t possibly strategize, design and build a website that will truly help my client.
“Do you have Google Analytics installed?”
Okay, to be fair, I can already tell if you have it installed just by peeking into your site’s code. So the more realistic question is more to the point— “Can I access your Analytics?”
By combing through this information, I can get a great baseline into how your site is currently performing. How many people are coming to your site each day? How long are they sticking around? What pages are they most interested in?
By knowing this, I can start to build a content strategy. Oh, everybody loves this article? Let’s make a landing page based on that content.
The idea is, we can see what’s working well, and what isn’t. Now we know what type of content to create more of, and what we can safely phase out.
“What does your sales funnel look like?”
If you run a business, chances are people find you in a multitude of ways. What I want to know is how your website currently fits into that funnel. How many of your customers are finding you through your website? How many people find your website and never turn into a customer?
If you’re counting on your website to bring in leads, but nobody’s biting, we need to devise a plan to improve that percentage. We also need to shore up any breaking points where you tend to lose people.
“Who is your #1 customer?”
Companies that are truly successful understand one core principle — they aren’t for everybody. Even Walmart, a 200+ billion dollar company understands that the Target customer is not their customer.
In order to develop the strategy, design and content for your website, it needs to have a voice, and speak loudly and clearly to your #1 customer. To broaden the message to appeal to the masses would just dilute the message for the people who really matter.
It often helps to develop a customer persona. I recommend this exercise so much that I dedicate an entire client meeting to it in the discovery phase. We identify their #1 customer, as well as one or two secondary markets that we need to appeal to. We give them a name, hobbies, a job title and a location, among other things.
This allows us to be laser-focused on how we design the look of the site, as well as the overall tone and message.
“What is your #1 customer’s biggest problem and exactly how can you help them out with that?”
Now that you know who your #1 customer is, it’s time to figure out what’s keeping them up at night. How does your business help them out with a problem they are having? At the end of the day, that’s all any business exists for — to solve a problem.
This is crucial information for your web pro, because once we know what your customers need, we can begin developing content that speaks to those problems directly. Your audience needs to know that you’re the answer to everything they’re looking for, and your website has to be very clear about that.
“What is your ultimate business goal?”
Here’s where you can see the difference between the web pros and the masters. Many will stop short of this and simply ask what the goal is for the website.
Your web pro should base the entire strategy on how they can best use your website to help you fulfill your business objective. To focus upfront on something as small as the “goal of the website” can limit the results, and it might actually end up focusing on the wrong goal.
As you can see, true web pros tend to focus more on solving the needs of your business, rather than shallow aesthetics. While the look of your site is extremely important as well, that alone will not get you the results you want. Only by digging deep and uncovering the true needs of your business can we begin to improve your online presence in a meaningful way.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community