Why your next new website may already be doomed

: : web + ui/ux : :

BY GARRETT CURRY


Websites used to be all about style over substance. They wanted to grab your attention by blaring an obnoxious video clip or dazzle you with a flash animation that took forever to load. 

Since then, companies have designed and redesigned their websites to change with the times or at least they think they have. They are still using the same old boring approach of listing why they are great and what they do that's really great. This is going to put your users to sleep! And everyone at the company knows it, but they don't know how to get it right, even when building a new super costly website (which is going to be doomed from the start). In fact, many companies hate their website so much they redesign it on average every two-and-a-half years. Considering how much time, money and hope is placed on your online presence, it's incredibly frustrating to feel like it looks bad and performs worse. There are a lot of reasons to dislike a website: 

  • It's not actively driving growth for your company. This should scare you.
  • It comes off like an online brochure with endless blocks of text
  • It does not perform well on mobile devices
  • The design is dated - and makes you cringe; even apologize.
  • Your staff photo is from back when you had hair
  • Updating it or adding to it is difficult
  • It's unable to serve your strategic objectives

Although a web re-design is common to most strategic plans, it usually trails off into a whimper of inaction because a lot of people are pretty clueless to what this process entails. There are plenty of beautifully worthless websites out there that have little to offer the user, nor the business. It just expounds upon the glory of the business, which might make the CEO feel good, but what good is an ego-boost when your business is struggling?

Don't sign a costly contract! Begin with an simple Web Blueprint. 

If a website is designed for human consumption, it could actually drive the growth of your company. This kind of success begins with a simple plan that will plot the intended experience of your audience.

A Web Blueprint will determine the scope, scale and cost of your new website - without signing a contract. Naturally, one of the main things people are interested in when talking about a website re-design is cost. With a Web Blueprint this is pretty easily pinned down after we ask you a few questions while armed with markers and a whiteboard.

Here are a few of the questions we cover during this investigative process.


1 // How are you going to compose content for your website?

A lot of companies get this one wrong. They'll say things like, "For people to know who we are" or "To drive traffic" or "So people will reach out to us." Ok, while those may be true, these answers lack the substance that we were talking about earlier. 

Also, it may suggest that you need to rethink why you need a website in the first place. You need to think of your new online presence as a tool to drive growth and increase revenue. With that understanding in mind you can set clear, measurable targets to aim at, and move forward with a strategy for a bullseye.


2 // What is the user's objective when visiting your website?

This really throws a wrench into the first question, doesn't it? That answer may not be apparent, but it's actually pretty simple–they want to know if your company can solve their problem. Unfortunately, you don't have a lot of time to make your case as most users abandon a website if their attention isn't grabbed in half a second. 

Using your website to talk about yourself and bore people with your list of services and company history is a mistake because customers just want to how you can help them.


3 // Where does your objective intersect with the user's objective?

A great web experience is your opportunity to generously serve your audience and win their hearts. Look at it this way: if your company were a deck of cards, which ones need to be at the very front of the deck? Take what is most clear and useful to your audience and lead with that. They want to know what you can do for them, so tell them that. 

The next thing you should consider is personalizing your website to your intended audience. By looking at analytics you can sculpt your website in a way that allows your objective to be more aligned with your audience's objectives. The bottom line is that you need to dive into the fundamental questions of how your objectives intersect with your audience's before moving onto the next step.


4 // What do you want the user to do on your website?

Again, simply providing an online brochure isn't going to drive growth. You have to provoke the user to respond in some way. So, what does this look like? This is where a call to action comes in. 

A clear CTA can help create sales leads and have been known to increase conversions by 202%. Substantial, right? Do you want them to call you, fill out a form, take a survey, click "purchase"? Adding a button that directs users to do so can work wonders. Whatever your CTA might be, once you determine that, you can now map a user journey with all roads leading to that single goal.


5 // Where does your website fit within your sales cycle?

Your website is only a small piece of a larger user story. That story can be a vast and intricately tangledumsite. Depending on what your goals are, there are a few more things you need to think about.

WHO IS GOING TO WRITE YOUR CONTENT?
You can do it yourself or hire a professional who might know a thing or two about it.

WHAT SHOULD BE YOUR PRIMARY CONTENT?
Lots of websites do well with blogs, but recently video content has been hot. A recent study shows that online sales go up by 85% when a user can watch a demo video.

WHAT'S YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY?
Different platforms appeal to different demographics but have vastly different content strategies. If your target demo skews younger, Instagram is where you want to be, but if they are older, Facebook is the spot.

HOW WILL YOUR WEBSITE GENERATE LEADS?
Having your users sign up for a monthly newsletter is an awesome way to learn more about your user, their habits, and what content they value. On top of that, a newsletter is a great periodic reminder that your website (& business) is still alive and kicking.

These are a few cursory things you want to think about before you talk to a web designer or marketing team. There are a bunch more layers that will help grow your online presence too.

For instance, what will happen after the user visits your site? Are you going to have an opt-in that builds an email list? Are you going to implement an email drip campaign? How can your sales team utilize your website as an indispensable tool? What sort of analytics, automations or efficiencies could your website bring to the life of your company? If your website had a moon sign, what would it be? How would its analytics help you decide what you buy your dog for his birthday?

So many questions! Maddening, isn't it? Are we trying to scare you? Yes. Are we trying to chase you away from trying to save money only to have an unruly website that costs you even more money to patch up? Absolutely! Website are never simple, and most companies cannot afford to DIY it.

That's what makes a Web Blueprint a thing of beauty a perfect place to start. Answering these questions will determine the content, design, features and functionality of your new website which will determine its scope and cost. Did you notice that we didn't even talk about slick page designs that pop and that's like our thing. None of that matters unless your website is built on a solid foundation.

At Raygun, well begin with a simple conversation that explores the people you're trying to reach. Crafting an experience that helps them accomplish their objectives will be a win for your business every time.

Are you ready to hear more about a web blueprint?

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