1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Create a website strategy that’s focused on who your audience is. Sit down and list out who your target users are and think about their: age, interests, values, habits, brands that influence them…etc. Also think about what problems you can solve for them. With this information you should be able to target your website content and user flow with this person in mind. Always design and think about who your user is and what they would want to see.
I’ll use our new site as an example…
Our clients value: Time, A Personalized Experience, Custom Design, Professionalism
Our clients want to feel: Special, Confident, Value
Our clients need: Results, Elevated Service, Longevity
This is how we meet our users expectations:
We list our values, which in turn are benefits to our clients…
We create trust by showcasing results and testimonials from past clients…
We create user flow by using copy and imagery to direct them to the next page…
2. MAP OUT YOUR SALES PROCESS
An effective website also has your business goals weaved into every touchpoint. Not only do you want to provide helpful information that your user wants to see but you also have to be selling to that audience.
What goals are you trying to achieve with your site? Are you trying to get traffic to your blog, are you selling a service or perhaps promoting a partnership? Create a sales funnel to help your user navigate your website with ease and in turn help you meet your goals.
3. DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS FROM COMPETITORS
I always encourage clients to look outside their industry when they are exploring website inspiration. Particularly in the wedding industry, most brands are behind the times in effective website design and user experience. Many rely on templates or neglect their website for years, so why pull inspiration from something that will be dated in a year or was dated already. I recently had a client reference a site that hadn’t been updated since 2012….yup 😉 But because this person was considered a wedding celeb, they thought they had the secret recipe. Funny enough, about 1 day later I saw on Instagram stories that this business was in the midst of launching their new website. Trust your designer and seek inspiration from industries that tend to lead the trends – like fashion brands.
4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM
This one is a bit controversial as everyone has their own preference and opinion. But I will go with what we’ve found to work best for our clients with growing businesses….and that’s WordPress. One thing I’ve learned is that the “newest” website platforms come and go. They have fixed contracts and high fees, updates that not everyone is happy about and can make for some nightmare website experiences. While some do a great job and create beautiful front-end websites, they aren’t always the most functional on the backend, have strong SEO or aren’t built for Google’s best practices. It also puts non-developers/designers in the driver seat and that can leave you with a pretty site but not a functional one. Every platform has pros and cons, but I do (for obvious reasons) believe in the design and development process of a custom site for any business. It’s the number one thing that clients rave over that has helped them grow their business exponentially. So don’t go with what everyone else seems to be doing, do your research and choose a platform that’s going to work long-term for your business.
5. REFRESH OR REDESIGN EVERY 2-3 YEARS
The digital world is ever-changing and that means your website too. A good, well designed site should last a business 2-3 years. I mean how much has your business changed in year, let alone two to three years? When your goals, audience or brand change, it’s time for a refresh or redesign as well. Not only is your website your most visual and seen aspect of your business, it’s also the one that works for you 24/7. Don’t you love waking up to new inquiries or sales? Make sure to build in a budget for a new website every few years and that can be as simple as setting aside a portion of your marketing budget each month so you’re ready to invest.