So you’ve decided to re-develop your web site. Great! Whether you develop the site with people inside your company, have a professional web design firm do it, or your neighbor’s nephew, Joey handle it (PLEASE! No, I am begging you!), here are few tips on what you can do to make the process less painful, more affordable and faster.
- Write More Content – The more content you have, the better the search engines like it. Also, there are people on the web who want complete research. (I knew more about my last car purchase than the guy who sold it to me!) Consider this your chance to sell them online before you even talk to them. There is a correct way to present that content. Don’t force it down their throats. Give them the option to choose to read it vs. forcing it on them at the top of the page. Make it easy to find and access (jump menus, etc.) But the more RELEVANT content you have, with more keywords, the better off you will be.
- Research Your Other Sites– make a list of URL’s, features & failures. List 5-10 sites you like and WHY. That is important. They don’t have to be in your industry. (i.e. “I like metheney.com because I like the ease of navigation and color scheme.“) Then list 5-10 sites you HATE and WHY. This gives your web designer a good basis to see your styles and technical needs.
- Review your site traffic – most hosting companies provide tools for reviewing the data. This can be used to analyze your sites strong and weak points. This data can tell you where and why people are coming to your site. Where they are leaving from; what links they are clicking on; what technology they are using. This is all critical data to web designer. For example, if 60% of your web visitors are on viewing it on a mobile device, you can design toward that to make the experience better for them. If a large portion are using Apple devices, you know not to use Flash. If the monitor resolution is low, you design a smaller site, etc.
- Think about how you can save money in your brick and mortar business– provide private customer reports online, save money on printing with digital catalogs and brochures, speed transaction time, etc. Set realistic expectations of how a site can help your business. Don’t worry about the technology, the web developer will handle that. You just figure out to run your business better and the web developer will figure out how to do it on the web.
- Check your search engine rankings – search for your site with your keywords and see where you rank. This allows you to set a baseline if you are having some do some Search Engine Optimization work on your site and help monitor progress.
- Take pictures – the more pictures you have, the more a designer can select from, to use only the best. The more professional the lighting & composition, the better. Use higher resolution so you can use them in brochures later. A web developer can always reduce the size of a picture, but if they increase the size, it gets pixelated.
- Set metrics to gauge success – whether it’s a 20% increase in unique viewers, or 100% more conversions from viewers to buyers, set measurable guidelines so you can monitor for success. Be sure that one set of metrics is based on real dollars. Nothing says “Success!” like increased sales!
- Know your Conversion Rate – your conversion rate is the percentage of people that visitor your site vs. the number of visitors that buy. So if 100 people visit your site and of that 100, 1 buys something, your conversion rate is 1%. Conversely know what your average profit from your web sales are. This helps determine your Return On Investment especially with Pay Per Click advertising.
- Know your market – be able to communicate who your typical buyer is. This way your web designer can design the site to influence the opinion of your decision makers. Remember, they are not designing the site to YOUR liking, they are designing it to the liking of your prospective customer.
- Know your web site objectives – be able to clearly communicate what business objectives you have for your web site. Your brick and mortar goals may be to sell widgets, but your web goals may be to get people curious enough to call on the phone or email. Of give them enough info to make a decision. There is a difference and you need to be able to tell your web developer what you want the site to do.
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