It’s that time of the year…time to look at where your company has been and what projects and goals to plan for in 2016.  Maybe part of your planning and budgeting is to replace your dated website with one that into the decade.  Your current site had served you well, but as your business has grown and changed so has the world of technology and accessibility.  Accessing your site on a mobile device was not a factor with your previous website, but today mobile devices are inescapable.  Before you budget that project for the next year in the hopes of completing in the first quarter, answer these three questions first:

First…Does my business have solid branding/key messaging established that you and your team stand behind?Branding is crucial in leading the website strategy and marketing messaging, if you have not taken time to create this, then developing a website will be a difficult task. When you skip this step, it is like starting with a blank screen, a scary and daunting task.  My suggestion is to focus on branding first – check out this blog on finding your why.  In many cases your website is your main, if not only opportunity to market your business.  Thinking through the look, feel and reaction you want your audience to experience will save much time in the creation or development.

Second…What do I want my website to do for my business?

Identifying clearly the goals of your website will offer your developer a clear idea of what is important first and foremost so they can position the site to fulfill those goals. Depending on your business and industry, the particular goals may vary. They should be goals that can be measured and tracked to determine if the site is on target or help identify what may need to be altered. Here are some common things you may want your website to do to get you thinking in the right path. Prioritize your top three (and you’re not allowed to say “All of the Above”):

  • Generate Leads
  • Educate Your Audience
  • Sell a Product or Service
  • Generate Repeat Sales
  • Serve as Your Company Brochure
  • Create A Brand Experience
  • Legitimize Your Business

 

Third…How do I find a partner to design and develop my website?

The key word here is “partner.” Building a website is a very collaborative task, or it should be. You’ll want to find a team of designers and developers that understand both your brand and your goals for the site and want to work “with” you in all phases. Translating these two items into a fully functional website is the essential to its success. Take time to share these things with your development team and notice that they are curious and interested in the business as a whole and not just the tactics of creating a website. Ask for references and call them to see what experience you should expect.

Once you have answered these questions, you will have a better handle on what it will take from a time and monetary perspective.  Now you are ready to pick up the phone and set a meeting with your chosen web development partner.

NEXT: Stayed tuned for what you should expect from that meeting and how to prepare.

Article written by

web developer/Wordpress strategist/herder of office personalities