In the process of building your website, aside from developing its design you should also focus on its marketing potential. After all, before a user can even stumble upon your page, he will need to actually find and select it among numerous website options. Therefore, you should ensure that your website is search engine optimized for easier visibility. Likewise, once they finally do arrive at your page, make sure that the interface is user friendly enough to encourage them to linger and explore your website.
Unfortunately, although these tips might seem like common sense, many web programmers still do not prioritize marketing and promotion in their designs. They only focus on satisfying the desired look that their clients want to achieve and leave the marketing aspect in their hands. Often, this results in interfaces that are visually pleasing, but are not particularly user friendly.
For this reason, it is recommended that you take the time to address a few pertinent issues regarding the marketing aspect of your website before you hand it over to your web programmer. Satisfying the issues in this checklist will ensure that the final website design will be able to achieve exactly what it is meant to do.
Find Your Target Audience
Before you even start with any business venture, whether local or online, you should make sure that you know who your target audience is. Once you narrow down the customers you wish to cater to, it will be easier for you to adjust your marketing strategies to address their specific needs.
My favorite way to do so is by building “personas”. I would suggest you to read Mike King’s guide to persona, he did a great job explaining the concept (+ he illustrated with Belgian Smurfs 🙂 ).
Specify the Purpose of Your Website
Make sure that you are truly knowledgeable in the field that you choose to specialize in or in the business that you choose to put up. This will make it easier for you to stick with the goals and vision you have for your online venture. Likewise, it will be easier to design and market a website that has clear objectives and core values that need to be conveyed to your web visitors.
A clear example of that is Hipmunk. Any other options than directly searching flights/hotels? They get that right!
Have a Clear Design Concept
In order to achieve your desired website design, you should actively collaborate with your website programmer during the website development stage. Let him know the exact style that you want for your website. Likewise, be specific regarding color schemes or pantone numbers for the company colors that you want to incorporate in the layout. A website that is easily identifiable in relation to an already established brand or company will be much easier to market than an ambiguously designed website.
Innovate on Your Previous Website Design
Instead of rebuilding your new user interface completely from scratch, you should take note of the aspects that you could still incorporate into your new design. After all, there must still be a reason why you used those functions or options in the first place. Likewise, if you simply refine your website instead of making a complete overhaul, users will find it easier to readjust to and accept something that they are already familiar with. Nevertheless, if some aspects of your website are merely compromising its efficiency, then it is best if you remove those altogether and use them as a basis for things that you should avoid in future revisions.
Check Out the Competition
Although you would still want to end up with a design that is unique to your brand and company, it is actually much easier to gain the interest and trust of visitors if your user interface is something that they are already familiar with. For this reason, it is recommended that you browse the websites of your competitors and incorporate the most effective options and designs that they have into your own webpage. Likewise, you should carefully note what they have in their designs only serve to clutter the interface. In this way you will be able to come up with a final design the makes the most of the most desirable aspects of all of your competitor’s web pages.
Beyond the web design aspect, you should definitely check Quick Sprout’s website analyser.
Know Your Priorities
Although it is best for an amateur programmer to leave the website development in the hands of a professional, you should still know enough about your own website in order to ensure that it prioritizes the marketing and promotion of your products or services. You should be able to determine and understand the things that work and the things that do not work with regards to the design and subsequent redesign of your website.
When specifying your priorities, do not underestimate the importance of setting your key indicators of success. A good way to do this is to have a few metrics on each step of your customer acquisition funnel (e.g. # of signups, # of contacts, # of newsletter subscriptions, etc). Measuring everything does not make sense at all, focus on a few key performance indexes. If you are in the Saas business, I would strongly encourage you to read this great introduction by Kissmetrics.
Keep In Mind Technical Aspects
Having a prominent domain as your web host will help you rank much higher in an online search. Likewise, the reliability of a prominent domain name will also increase your credibility in the eyes of your online customers. Additionally, if your web host can allow your users to have usernames and passwords, it will make them feel more at ease when availing of your services.
You should also ensure that your web page is easily accessible for your visitors by checking its page loading speed. After all, not only will a fast loading page encourage users to browse your page, but it will also play a role in improving your search engine rank.
Set A Budget
Although your priority is to come up with an attractive and efficient website design that will entice visitors to visit and linger on your page, you should still make sure that you stick to a certain budget and make a wise investment. Likewise, set aside enough money for any additional expenses for website upkeep or for the services of additional contractors.