Developing a new website can be a difficult under taking. There are a lot of decision to make and lots of stuff to coordinate. The trick is starting the whole process from the proper angle.
The biggest mistake I see people make is that they have a personal attachment to the way a website looks. This is a big mistake. You have to keep in mind that the website is not for you. It’s for your customers. They are the ones that buy your products. If the website design you like isn’t something that your potential customer’s like you’re screwed. A website should be looked at in a similar light as an ad. Might sound kinda crazy but that in essence is what your website is. It’s out there to attract people, build your brand and drive sales not stroke your ego.
Ads are developed on the basis of who your core customers are. Demographics, income, marital status, etc, etc. The better you know your core audience the better you can speak to them. You should do the same with your website. If you’re redesigning a website you should look at your analytics data to help you make key decisions on the basic site and variations to test. Let the way your customers used your old site tell you where you need to improve the new one. Too often I see websites that are designed and coded without the input of an SEO or a marketer. SEO and marketing are one of the most important elements of a website. If you ignore them from the beginning chances are you’ll get results that are much lower than you expect or are possible. Websites should be designed properly from the beginning with an eye toward long term SEO and marketing because that is what it’s meant to do. SEO and marketability are not, nor should they ever be an after thought.
Once you have gathered that data and really looked it yourself, or had someone look it over. You then need to coordinate and make the people involved (designer, programmer/coder, marketer and SEO) work together. Because this is a business website that must produce sales the marketer/SEO should have final say as to what or how something is designed based on their experience and data to back it up. All coding needs to be SEO friendly. If the coder says something can’t be done in an SEO friendly way then you need to find a new coder because they don’t have the necessary experience to get the best results from your website. Of course all the design elements and other decisions need to approved by you. If anyone in the group has a suggestion or something that they feel should be incorporated they need to be able to explain to you why it should be there. If they can’t chances are it’s a personal like. As you can see communication is key.
So here are the main things to keep in mind when developing a new website
- Dont get personally attached to the website. Remember this is a marketing and sales vehicle much like an ad. Look at it much the same way.
- Design it with marketing and SEO in mind from the beginning. After the initail design and launch of the website that’s the vast majority of its job so design it in from the start.
- Base all decisions on your core customers. They are the ones your website is for not you. If you make them happy they’ll buy your products
- Back up all decisions made with data. That way you have a solid reason as to why you should do something and a good starting point to improve from.
- Be prepared to run tests to find what produces the best results. Come up with variations that you want to test before it launches. That way you can let your customers tell you how to improve your website from the beginning.
- And last but not least ALWAYS keep your customers wants and needs in mind after all they are the one that make your business grow.