As you would expect from someone with “Advisor” in their title, I’m occasionally asked for my advice on business and marketing plans. While sometimes I get to go full Don Draper and lay out my thoughts in presentation to a client (except with PowerPoint and without cigarettes), more often than not it’s in casual conversation with an acquaintance or a prospective client where they have a basic question that requires much less than a full-on marketing presentation.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is: “What do you think of my website?”
It’s a loaded question, and requires an immediate return question: “What do you want from your website, and is it currently meeting that goal?” If the first part can’t be answered, or if the second part is “no”, it’s time to look at what you have and try to figure out if you can improve on it.
Websites vary in size, scope and cost—some are more elaborate (and expensive), while others are homemade and lack the bells and whistles you find on bigger sites. Their effectiveness varies, though—even the simplest websites can be effective if they are meeting your goals, the biggest doesn’t always mean the best.
But, sometimes you need to improve your website, whether it’s to improve its usability for customers, enhance or increase the available features or to make it easier to maintain for your team. Here are five tips for you once you determine that an improvement is necessary:
1) Determine your goal.
What do you want to accomplish with your website? Knowing exactly what you want your website to do will help you prioritize what is most important—and will help determine some of the potential costs.
2) Determine your budget.
Your budget will determine how you approach the improvements to your site—a larger budget opens the door to completely rebuild a site and include everything you want, while a more limited the budget means more decisions on what’s essential and what has to be eliminated. Your budget will also help determine how you choose to proceed with your website—going through a professional web developer like Absolute will cost more than trying to do it yourself, but there are some things only we can do due to the complexity of the code.
3) Look around.
What comparable businesses are out there and what do their websites do that yours doesn’t? Doing your homework will help determine the basic essentials you need for your website, and it will help when you finally hire the developer to work on your site. Trust me, it’s much easier to explain to our web development team what you want by showing them another site than by trying to explain it from scratch.
4) View the website as the end user would.
Who will eventually be using the site? If part of the goal of your site is to provide directions to customers, you have to assume that many of the users will be coming to your site from a mobile device. If so, how mobile compatible is your site? Can a user easily access the directions or call you from their mobile phone?
Every website should be created with the end user in mind—how easy will it be for them to get what they need out of the site. The more difficult to navigate the less effective it will be.
5) Prepare to market the site.
Make sure you don’t forget about what you need to do AFTER you launch the new site. Luckily, unlike a new logo or new address, you shouldn’t have to change all of your print materials to match the new website. But, you do need to let the site’s audience know about its changes, and market the new site to anyone that is a potential user. After all, you invested in the upgrades to the site, so make sure you maximize its potential!!
Good luck moving forward, and, as always, if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us here at Absolute. We can be reached at (701)478-1111 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.