When we meet with a web design client for the first time, we explain that the discovery process might be a little longer and more intensive than they expect.
That’s because a lot of business owners and executives come to us thinking they’ll simply need to tell us what their website should look like and what business category they are in. Instead, we ask lots of pointed questions about their competitive strengths, their customers, and even the competition. In other words, there’s a lot to know before we actually start creating layouts and coding pages of HTML.
When it’s all said and done, however, there are really three all-important web design questions we are trying to get the answers to. That’s because they are the issues that really matter to a business at the end of this process. Let’s look at each one in the order clients usually want to discuss them…
Question #1: What Do You Want Your Website to Look Like?
Every company organization has its own style, and many clients come to us with sketches or inspirations that are ready to use.
These can be very helpful because the look and feel of your website is important. It has to impress a first-time visitor right away and convince them that your business is worth giving a shot. It also needs to be laid out in a manner that is easy and intuitive, so someone who isn’t familiar with your company or content can easily move from one topic to another.
There are a lot of places you can draw inspiration for website aesthetics. You can look to your own logo, your existing website, or the color scheme you chose as part of your branding and identity package. You could also check out competitor websites, or other pages from successful companies that aren’t even in your industry.
Other considerations might involve the preferences of your customers, along with the type of image you want to project. For instance, if your buyers are younger, you might prefer a modern aesthetic. Conversely, if your business has been around for a while, you could lean toward a classic web design that emphasizes tradition and stability, along with continuity from an old website in terms of navigation and menu items.
Your web designer can do quite a bit to turn your preferences and impressions into a set of designs that can be tweaked or improved later. However, everything is easier and simpler when you come into the process having some sort of idea about the way your final website should look.
Question #2: What Does Your Website Need to Do?
After you have established some guidelines for the look of your next business website, your web designer will undoubtedly ask about features and functionality that need to be part of the final version.
This is a good step in the process to let your imagination run wild. You might not end up using every idea that comes up, but you don’t want to limit yourself during the brainstorming stage. That’s because a modern brand-new website can fulfill a lot of different business functions, many of which an owner or executive might not have immediately considered.
For example, you could use your website to process orders online, generate leads from customers, give out product manuals or video instructions, handle scheduling for employees, and perform real-time currency conversions. You can also use a website for document delivery, data-entry automation, or even event registration.
Those are simple hypotheticals, and they represent the tip of the iceberg. You should be thinking about the various ways a stronger web presence could help your company operate more smoothly or profitably. Then, your web design team can look at available apps or custom programming options to see what fits.
One way or another, you want to create a firm list of roles your website has to perform. Think about pages or tools that could be added, and different tasks that can be handled more conveniently online than off. Then you’ll know exactly what your website has to do, both for you and your customers.
Question #3: How Will You Profit From Your Website?
This is the magic question, but it’s one business owners and executives tend to think of last. How will the new website actually help you to meet your profitability targets for the next few years? Be as specific as possible.
As we’ve already mentioned, it might be that you want to generate ecommerce revenue from your pages. Or, it could be that you’re hoping to have a certain type of customer find your website through Google or other search engines, read content on your pages, and then schedule an appointment with a member of your sales team. You might just want to spend less time on customer service or fewer hours following up on new accounts.
Generally speaking, you can use a website to magnify your sales and marketing efforts in numerous different ways. That’s because your pages can pull in qualified buyers 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It can set up new leads for your best salesperson or magnify the vision of a talented marketing executive. It can even assist you with recruiting and vendor management. However, it won’t do any of these things by accident. You have to have the vision of how you want to see your company grow and where your website fits into the mix.
Whatever the specific goal might be – and you can have more than one – tried to narrow in on something measurable. There isn’t much chance your web design project is going to turn into a profitable one if you and your creative team don’t both know and agree what you’re trying to accomplish.
Ready for a Web Design Twist?
We have already mentioned that clients like to talk about these three questions in the order we’ve presented them. However, as web designers we know a secret: these are actually backwards. That is, the third question is the most important one, followed by the second, and then the first.
It’s no secret that business people like visuals, and the aesthetics of your web design matter a great deal. However, function has to drive form when your profitability is on the line. Until you have a firm idea of the way you’ll get leads or sales from your web presence, the particular layout doesn’t matter. Likewise, you can’t really know what apps or functions your website needs until you can be absolute sure of how it’s going to make money for your company.
We hope you’ll keep this realization in mind as you consider your next web design or website redesign project. Give your creative team all the time and answers they need to understand your company and the challenges you’re facing, but understand that what they need to know really comes down to this trio of issues. Help them to get those answers and you’ll be well on the way to launching a new website that grows your business for years to come.
Need Client-Focused Web Design in Houston, Austin or San Antonio Texas?
At WebWize, we have become one of the leading web design and online marketing agencies in Southeast Texas because we approached things a little bit differently. We don’t simply build great-looking web pages – we help companies to get stronger and more profitable.
If you haven’t been getting the kind of service or results you deserve from your creative team, now is the time to schedule a free consultation with our team and see what we can do for you. Contact us today!
About Glenn Brooks
Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.