You’ve heard the horror stories of website development, and maybe even suffered through one yourself in the past – development processes that drag out forever, go way over budget, and/or don’t yield the desired results.
I have a tried-and-true process to avoid those nightmares and instead deliver to clients the website they really want, on time and on budget.
This is the first in a 7-part series where I’ll give you an insiders view of how I do that… so that you can apply these same best practices to your website development process.
Step 1 – State your GOAL
The best way to set your website project up for success is to start with the end in mind by considering what you need that website to do. The more specific you are about what you expect to get out of it, the better. Some possibilities include:
- Get subscribers to sign up
- Have people email a request for your services
- Sell your product or service
- Share your phone number
- Showcase your work
- Direct people to your storefront
- Educate customers and prospects
- Showcase your brand
You may have multiple goals, and that’s fine, just make sure you identify one of them as your most important goal. This will allow your website to clearly point people to the most important destination. Without a clear singular direction, website visitors may be confused and take no action at all.
This is a critical first step in website development because it allows your designer to create the optimal site structure for that purpose. For example, if your goal is to have someone sign up for your newsletter, you wouldn’t want to have the same website as someone who is offering a product.
Get crystal-clear on your goals and share them with your developer
I can’t stress enough how important it is to share your goals with your website developer so they don’t create something that doesn’t help your business. No matter how great they are at their job, they can’t read your mind.
Which leads me to point out something that may seem obvious but still needs to be said: Make sure you are clear on what your goals are before you talk to a developer. If you haven’t yet nailed down what your basic goals are, hold off on creating a website until you are sure.
The goal for your website will come out of your larger overall marketing goals. A website is not a miracle solution – it can’t solve problems that stem from lack of clarity on marketing strategy.
However, when you are clear on your overall marketing goal, a website is a great tool to help you achieve that goal and is an essential part of most modern marketing plans.
What is the problem you need to solve?
It’s good to think of a website as a solution to a problem. If you can figure out what your problem is, then you are on your way to discovering what type of website will solve your problem.
What do you need more of?
Do you need more leads coming into your marketing/sales funnel? Do you want those leads to be calls, emails, or subscribers?
Are people coming to your website ready to buy and you just need to direct them to the right product? Or will they need to learn more about you and what they do before they’re ready to make a purchase decision?
Do you need better brand awareness? If so, how are you positioning yourself against the competition? Will your website be the landing place for a strong social media push?
Do you need prospects who are more qualified/educated? If so then you should direct them to an FAQ or other informative content before sending them to your contact information to request a quote.
Always start with the end in mind
Failing to consider your goals from the start will leave you with wasted time, energy and money, and lead to frustration for everyone involved in the project.
Knowing the number one thing you want visitors to do when they come to your site will set you on the path to getting the website you really want.
Get the website design template
Ready to get a real website? Subscribe here to receive my free website design process template that you can use to implement this process for your own website development plan.