You can only rely upon your web developer so much. When it comes to getting a champion website built – to begin with the ball is firmly in your court. Knowing what you want will make it easier for you to get it. So start planning today. This post is written to help you know your own mind, and so get your champion website.
There is a famous (and slightly annoying) saying that is often shared on Facebook and at business coaching workshops, which is this:
Failing to plan is planning to fail
However twee and annoying it may be to hear this again, it is actually true. And applies to any part of your life and business. It is as true in multinational corporations and in small not-for-profit arts organisations, as it is in small business.
So – what am I talking about here? Well it is our experience, as web developers, that it is true for our clients, and for ourselves. To get your champion website then you need to plan it out before you start development.
There is another annoying phrase that is endlessly shared as motivational business speak (and Facebook infographics):
If you don’t know where you are going, any destination will do.
Which brings me to another point. Clients who know what they don’t want end up with endless changes and revisions, which does nobody any good. Your website never gets finished if you keep changing things. Clients who know what they want and can clearly communicate it invariably end up with a better website, and a better relationship with their developers.
Before you plan your website
Lets lay out several points that you can use as a guideline for talking with your web developer, and planning your website:
- Graphic designers who primarily design for print are NOT web designers.
Print and web are different media and require different design skills (more on this in later blog posts). So don’t ask your print designer to design your website.
- Your website is not about you.
Shocking, I know. But the truth is that your website is about how you can solve your customer’s problem right now. I mean RIGHT NOW!
- “Welcome to my website” is the worst text ever to put on your website.
We KNOW it’s your website. You are wasting the valuable time and attention of your customer by boring them with something they already know. Instead you should be solving their problems.
- You need to ask for an action from the user, to convert them to a prospect or customer.
It is true that you often get what you ask for. So you need to ask your website visitors to take an action. We like to use (what we lovingly call) “Big Arsed ButtonsTM“. These are really big buttons – or “calls to action” that jump off the screen and ask the user to do something – usually with the words “You”, “your”, or “my” in it. As in:
Like what you see? Contact us now
- You don’t know what you don’t know.
You hired a web designer to design your site, didn’t you? Listen to their advice – you are paying them for it, and respect their opinions – because this is what they do for a living.
- Web sites are about meeting organisational goals.
Mostly this is about making sales. For not-for-profits it’s about increasing engagement and communicating a clear message. So defining your goals should happen before you start talking to web designers.
The most important questions you must answer
Which brings us to the most important questions that you must ask yourself before you even talk to a web developer:
- What is my most important message?
- How will I communicate my most important message in five seconds to my website user?
- What is the single most important action that I want my website user to take?
If you can’t answer these three questions effectively then people will just bounce off your website and go to your competitors. Get it right and you set up a chain reaction that leads the user into your arms as a loving customer.
In our next blog post we will examine more website planning steps and things you can do to get your champion website built.