Yes, it’s true that the world is going digital and the way we were doing things five years ago has changed. This may be why you want to start a website of your own.
The fact that everyone has a computer, internet connection and can put up something online doesn’t mean that you need to ignore experts. Every area has people who know far above the general concepts. It’s true you can make a website in a few clicks but will it be useful?
I want to show you how you can create a website for your business. Following this guide will help you see your expectations and goals met. There are steps you can take to move your idea from conception to fruition regarding websites.
Create a Website: The Steps
1. Determine the role of the website in the bigger picture.
Some people have great ideas about a business whose cornerstone is a website. For example, an eCommerce business
. Yes, the thinking and investment should go into the actual tool that’s going to make the money. However, there is so much that needs to work well besides the shopping cart itself. For example, every e-commerce business is heavily dependent on the delivery solution devised.
There is a bigger picture to your project. What is it? And will it work provided you have the best solution in the world?
What has made the issue of successful website sound like the hype is the fact that people focus too much on the website functionality and possibilities and forget the bigger picture of the business concepts around the website?
The first step in creating a website is to think about the position and role of the website in the bigger picture. Besides the website what else needs to be in place for my idea to work? All the online ideas which fail are brought to their knees rarely because of technical problems. In most cases, it’s because the thinking of the bigger picture elements of the project wasn’t thorough.
The real role of a website in your idea is that of serving the clients with the product or service you have for them. If the items delivered by the website are not up to the tastes of the clients, the website can be great but the customers will still not come there. Got it? Right, what are these elements in the bigger picture for your project?
2. If the website should be successful what should it achieve?
After determining the position of the website in the whole project, it’s important to see what elements of the project is the website being used to implement. Using the eCommerce example, the website is created to catalog and sell the products the shop has to offer. The goals of the website here are to make sales and make finding products easy.
If the eCommerce website achieves goals like brand popularity and having so much traffic without making sales, it’s failing. Because there are so many statistics available on your website from tracking tools like Google Analytics
, many people celebrate unintended successes.
Outline the exact things that you need your website to do and or help your clients do. For a news blog, the goal would be reading the articles. For a shop, its sales and for a software company it’s signing up for a trial of the software. It’s all different.
But why is this important? Determining your main goal will help in the following ways:
i) You get guidance on what to focus on building.
If you are news website and your goal is readership, you would make sure the font size of the text on the website is big enough for easy readership. If your goal is sales, you will definitely have a ‘buy now’ button powered by a user-friendly shopping cart system. Having goals like these will help your streamline your efforts.
ii) You know exactly what is a success is for you.
You cannot celebrate one million visitors with three software trials if you are trying to make people signup for software trials. Lots of statistics and graphs from tracking tools will cease to distract you from your main goals.
iii) Continuous improvement is guided by the main goals
. As projects live longer and people are fighting for innovation, there is a risk of focusing on the minor elements of the project. Having a clearly determined goal for the website will help streamline innovations to those which are relevant to the main goal.
3. Who are we creating this website for? And what do they want?
Determine what your customer needs – Offer that on your website to make it attractive
It sounds so obvious to say that the websites are meant for clients/customers. But in reality, most websites are meant for the owners. Why do I say that? Because most owners force preferences into the website and totally ignore their clients. From the design to the content. If the website is for clients let then determine who they are.
It’s difficult for many website owners to put themselves in the shoes of their clients and ask ‘If I was a client would I buy from my eCommerce website and why?’. Amazingly, for those companies with employees, even the employees wouldn’t buy from them. How does this happen? I think it is because the customer is nowhere in the picture during the planning phase of the website.
News websites are thinking of more traffic to make their adverts pricier, eCommerce shops want more sales and the software guy wants your email in exchange for the trial software. Why these projects sometimes fail to realize their goals is because they do not seek to find what their customers really wants.
So what do eCommerce customers need? Who are they? Observation shows that most online shoppers in Zimbabwe are males from 25-44 years of age. The reason why they buy online maybe that men do not like moving around in malls shopping buying. In such a situation, you know who you are selling to. That will change your language and offers etc. You wouldn’t offer free bubble gums to a 44-year-old, would you?
To get what you want, which is money or following, you have to give the customer what wants. Know them to have an idea of what they want and how they would want it. The websites which serve customers best and are the most successful in reaching their goals. Read about how to determine who your customer is here
What to do next
Well, there isn’t anything technical in this website guide, why? Because website projects do not fail due to technical problems, in most cases. Failure comes, in most cases, by ignoring these seemingly obvious things. When you are planning for a business website, first thing is, think through it before calling a web designer
. Further steps, will be in the followup article.
Need to help planning your project, we offer project discovery and planning workshops, contact us here.