Whether you are starting a new business or taking your existing business online, building a website can be fun. It’s the creation of the face your company will show the world, literally. Too often then not though, the process takes longer than business owners originally anticipate (yes, there is a lot of technical aspects to consider) and you find yourself wanting to get something up and not necessarily the right thing.
Yes, there can be times where the fast-and-dirty tactic is necessary, it is not the most effective (or efficient) way to build your site. Here are some things to think about to maximize your return on investment and working hours.
1. Think of the long game.
What do you want your site to be able to do three years from now? How about 10 years? Pull these items from your business plan and think about how you will want them to be displayed and categorized on your site now. Just like building a house, you need a solid foundation. By determining your architecture before you start to build, you reduce the amount of redirects–which can hurt your SEO–needed down the line as your business grows.
2. Determine your site’s purpose or goal.
Consider the goals you want to users to carry out. Should they fill out a form, complete a project, visit a set number of pages, comment on or share a story? Knowing what you want your site to do for your business will facilitate the setup of goals (and thereby determine conversions) in Google Analytics, a crucial part of any website creation, and help with step 3: user experience.
3. Focus on user experience.
You now know what action you want your site visitors to think about so the next step is to figure out how they will get to that point. Do they only need one click to get them to a conversion or does it require five? The fewest actions required by the user the better. Always present them with an opportunity to convert, whether it’s through a call-to-action on every page, a related content widget that pushes them through the site content, or conversion opportunities on each page itself.
While working this out, think about what you like and don’t like about websites you visit. If you hate having to click more than twice to get to a form, or to find contact information for a company, chances are that other people do as well.
Check back later this week for 3 more tips on building your website.