Creating a brand new website can be a difficult task – especially without a design brief. From our own experience, creating an in-depth design brief is one of the most important steps in having a new website designed. Without a brief, everything can fall apart. From our research, we’ve found that at least half of all small businesses weren’t happy with their last web project and suffered from:
- Multiple delays
- Going over budget
- Difficulty managing the project as well as day to day business activities
- A disappointing end result
- Inability to update the site
Nobody wants these five things! That’s why we want to help you avoid the common pitfalls that other small businesses have gone through, helping to save you time and money, and ultimately increase the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction your website can provide. Below, we’ve mentioned the most relevant points to consider when working on a plan for your new website.
We’ve listed the main ingredients you should include in your thinking, prior to inviting designers to work on your project, and during the project itself. Here are the first three ingredients!
1. Always keep your business goals in mind
Many people who wish to create a brand new site think of hiring a web developer as a process that is mainly won or lost by the developer. However, if you want the project to be successful, that is far from the truth. It requires plenty of preparation and acumen from the side of the small business too!
Business goals are created to drive the business in a specific direction, and to help the whole team make decisions. The truth is that even founders can sometimes lose track of the where they’re going, so writing goals down can help.
Your business goals can also instruct the design of your website. For example, perhaps the current payment process on your website is a known pain point for customers, and you want to develop an easier check-out. By improving this, your sales should increase.
2. The importance of customer segments & personas
You may think you already know the answer to this question, but how much do you really know about your customers?
For example, do you know your average customers:
- Job, income
- Marital status, age of children
- Things they aspire to do
- Things that make them angry
- How well they use computers/mobile
- Which social media platforms they usually use
It’s good to get specific because your understanding of your audience is going to impact your new website from the copy you write and information you include, to promotions, choice of images, colours and functionality. If you are struggling with this, it would be good to invest some time into conducting market research. Using surveys and talking to people will help you gain insights into who your audience are and what they are like.
Being super-clear about your top customer segments is a significant part of the foundation for your web brief. It might take a few hours to complete, and that’s ok. It’s better to take more time than to rush it and end up with poor customer segments.
Once you’ve worked on this, you can move onto creating a customer persona.
3. Your values and how they can impact your site design
Developing company values will impact your branding.
- Customers appreciate it – It is likely that you want to make your website stand out as much as possible. Showcasing the company’s core values can help turn visitors into customers (of course it can also deter them, depends on your values!).
- Decision making – Core values help companies in the decision-making processes. For example, if one of your core values is to stand behind the quality of your products, any products not reaching the satisfactory standard are automatically eliminated.
- Competitive advantage – Core values help to educate clients and potential customers about what your company is about and clarify the identity of your company. Especially in this competitive world, having a set of specific core values that speak to the public is a competitive advantage.
- Recruitment – Core values are becoming primary recruiting and retention tools. Job seekers are doing their homework on the identities of the companies they are applying for and compare it to their own. Employee’s’ identification with the company depends on the clarity and strength of its core values.
Company values could include: Humour, quality products, attentive customer service, positivity, innovation etc.
Which are your main values and why?
You should enable each user-goal to be achieved with ease on your website.
In the next post we’ll look at some examples of how companies use their values to enhance their brand and connect with customers.