What if I said that most big companies with big budgets at their disposal make sure they have these same 4 questions answered before launching any new website or even when making changes to their own website?
Can’t you just dive in and start building your website without answering these questions? After all, you know what you want!
Here’s the problem, I often see a lot of money spent on building websites that quite frankly do not hit the mark with the customer. One of the biggest issues I frequently come across are websites that have so much fluff. You know, stuff the customer doesn’t really care about, but rather to boost the ego of the person who built it…Hey, look at me….
In this post, you will learn the top 4 questions to ask your web developer when launching your new website. These are the same questions I ask my clients for all new website projects to ensure the right thing is built for the target customer.
Not only do these questions apply to new websites, but you can also ask them about your existing website.
Let’s get into it.
Question 1: What is the purpose of the website
This is where we need to think about the true purpose of the website.
Are you just looking to get a presence on the web so customers can find you? Are you looking to sell products online? Although this may seem obvious, it is important to find out the ‘Why’ of having a web site.
This will then help determine whether you need a simple landing page with some basic information or a full-blown e-commerce store with all the bells and whistles to support your business.
You also need to look at where you are at with your business. Let’s assume you are just starting out and are looking to sell online. It might make more sense (and less risk and money) to use an existing e-commerce platform until you are able to invest in a more customised solution.
An example of this was when I was approached to rebuild a website for a new client. The business was well established and a lot of the sales process is completed face to face due to the nature of the industry.
When I asked this question, the true purpose of the website was not for new customers to find them. Rather it was for their prospective clients to have a way to check they are a ‘legitimate’ business. Interesting! This not only helped with confirming the type of website required but what information would need to be available to ‘prove’ their legitimacy.
Question 2: Who is your customer?
No matter what you are doing with your digital marketing, knowing your customer is essential…actually its the opening passage to your digital marketing Bible. If you haven’t built your customer personas, do so now. Once you understand your customer drivers, pain points, objections you can then start building your online value proposition.
Knowing your customer will also drive the design of your website. For example, your customer persona may like to have a lot of images over text. Perhaps your customer persona may be the type of people that need detail so it is essential that you include a lot of information.
But what happens when you’ve got a mixture of both of these types of customers or are unsure what your customer wants? This is where user experience testing plays a central role. You may need to complete some initial testing of wireframes or design mockups with your target customer. This can be as simple as showing customers your hand drawings or something you put together in PowerPoint (this is a whole other topic).
This will allow you to understand what the experience should be and not what you think it should be The added benefit is it also helps with prioritising what features and functions should be built and those that should be discarded.
Question 3: What action do you want the customer to take?
Now the customer has found your website what is the outcome you are looking for? More importantly, what is the customer trying to achieve on the website? Go back to your customer personas and find out the main action or actions they are trying to complete.
Understanding this will influence the flow of the site. For example, if the main action your customer is trying to complete is to find product specifications, don’t bury it under a number of screens. Make it as easy as possible for them to find the information and complete the desired action.
A good rule of thumb is to have all important information no more than 3 clicks away from the main navigation.
The online experience is often used by customers as an indication of the service they will receive from the company.
Question 4: What are the most frequently asked questions you receive?
Writing down the most frequently asked questions received is also a great way to drive the design of your website. It will help you to understand the content needed for the website. If your customers asking you the same questions it’s an indication there is an issue with the current experience. Also, it’s quite possible they are also Googling for answers to the same question.
By having the right design, as well as optimising it for SEO, you’re not only helping your existing customers but potentially reaching new customers who are also having the same problem.
Take the time at the beginning of your next web project and ask yourself these questions. It will help reduce risk and extract as much value from your budget as possible. But, the most important outcome is it will ensure you are focussing on things that matter to your customer.