Do you know the biggest problem business owners face when designing their websites?

Poor planning.

For 10 years, I have been working with people who want to bring their business online.

Regardless of whether they own Mom-and-Pop shops, or companies with dozens of employees, I have always discovered the same problem:

Companies who don’t plan their website launch properly get delayed and lose money and sales because of it.

Of course, I’ll help you plan your website launch, but there are 5 critical questions you must answer before getting started:

1. How do you get new customers?

Does this seem like a silly question to you?

Of course, when people find your business and decide to buy your products, you win a new customer; but, how does that really happen?

Depending one what you sell, your sales funnel could be touch-less (your customer buys without speaking to anyone), or could be very involved and take months of negotiation (like a real estate developer.)

Either way, you should break your sales funnel into four distinct parts:

  1. Awareness – Your prospects find out about your business.
  2. Interest – Your prospects learn more and engage with your website and team.
  3. Decision – Your prospects decide if they are going to buy from you.
  4. Action – Your prospects buy, decide to wait, or decide to go with another provider.

Understanding how a person gets into each stage will not only help you optimize your website, but it will help you close more sales.

2. What is the point of your website?

Do you want to educate people on your offers?

Do you want to sell products and accept payments online?

Do you want to drive people into your storefront location?

Do you want more leads for your sales team?

There is no “one-size fits all” solution for web design and different business goals result in different types of design strategies.

For example, if you want an eCommerce shop, where you sell products and accept payments online, your website will need to be built to to enhance shopping cart checkouts and highlight your products.

But, if you have a sales funnel that requires a salesperson to get involved, you might want to optimize the website for email and phone number submissions on a form that captures emails and phone numbers.

Don’t know what the point of your website should be? Go back to Step 1.

3. Does your branding really represent your business’ personality?

Businesses, just like people, have distinct personalities.

Based on those personalities, people decide who they are going to do business with.

If your company’s branding isn’t strong, the perfect time to re-imagine your logo and identity is right before overhauling your web presence. This way, the website will reflect the new identity and you won’t need to make any dramatic edits in the future.

It’s also important to have high-quality versions of your logo so designers can properly make the images fit to all device screens. To build customer trust, your styling should look the same across all platforms and devices.

4. Are you doing too much?

How much time do you really think visitors are going to spend on your site?

Hint: Your answer is probably way too high.

The average website visitor is going to spend less than one minute on your website before deciding whether he or she wants to get more information.

This really works against the natural instinct of most new website owners, which is to load the website with more content and features than they can even produce!

Rather than overloading your site, making it confusing, and wasting countless hours creating and updating content, focus on the important things:

  • Have an excellent, interesting homepage
  • Make it easy for prospects to become customers
  • Create effective content that brings people in

Ditch that song on the homepage and marquee text that was popular online in 2000 and opt for a sleek, modern, easy to use website.

5. Will your needs change in one year?

Are you planning on having a different business model one year from now?

When people get started with a new website, they’re usually thinking about how their businesses work right now; but, you should really be thinking about what you want your business to look like one year from now.

If you want to sell products online next year, you should have that capability now. Although you might wait to use the feature, it will be cheaper and easier to build it in from the start, and you might surprise yourself and get started earlier than expected.

Did you answer these five questions?

If so, you should now have a much better understanding of how to start thinking about your website.

Now, for one more bonus question that really makes the website process easier:

BONUS: Do you hate to ask for help?

If you answer yes to this one, don’t feel badly, almost all business owners do. You’re already an expert in your business, you’re not supposed to have to be an expert in web presence and online marketing,  too – that’s my job.

Reach out to me at rob@mallardworks.com, or using the contact page, if you have any questions or need any help.