In this digital age, having a website is important. It’s often the first port of call for potential customers, and it represents you and your business. So it really needs to do everything you — and the customer — expect from it.
But often people forget and end up with a half-baked website that doesn’t give visitors a clear idea of what the business is about, or what you’re selling.
We’ve come up with a number of questions that you should answer when you’re working on a new website. (You’d be surprised how many people miss some of these important components!)
Read on to find out more…
Note: the following post is written for freelancers, small business owners, or people starting new projects. However, the same advice still applies if you’re a freelance writer working on a new client’s website.
1. Who are you? (and what does your business do?)
Your visitor needs to have a clear idea of who you are.
What is your business really about? What do you do? Any visitors to the website should be able to understand that instantly, rather than having to read between the lines to decipher the meaning behind your company’s mission.
It may seem obvious to you, but if you’re the one who wrote the ‘About us’ page (or directed a copywriter to do it), then you may have sufficiently explained it to yourself (the expert), but not the reader.
Do some market research or ask an untrained eye to have a quick glance over your company description. Confusing a potential customer with who you are and what you’re offering is not a good start to a relationship.
2. Who are your customers?
Second question: who is your target audience? Lots of people make the mistake of saying, “oh, everyone! Cast the net wide!”
I’m here to tell you that this will not work. You need to define the key demographic that you’re aiming your website at. Age, gender, and location are all factors to think about. If you tailor your website to a target audience, you’re far more likely to hit that target and make an impact.
3. How are you different from your competitors?
Yeah, what makes you so special anyway? Obviously there’s a reason why you created your product/business/website in the first place. Is there a gap in the market that you’re filling?
Have you invented a product so niche that no one’s ever even thought of it before?
Or are you offering the same service as some of the big competitors, but cheaper?
To answer this question, you must do some competitor research. For example, if you’re a business in Houston, check out other Houston businesses on Exchange to see what the competition is like.
What is successful about their websites and branding? You can use SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to help you make sense of trends and keywords. They can also help you analyze your competitors and their strategies, and how well they’re ranking… All useful stuff.
4. What do you want visitors to do on your website?
What do you want visitors to actually do on your website? This can be anything from buying a product or a service, downloading an app, registering for an event, learning, or sharing content…
You need to have a clear overall goal for your website: if users do only one thing on your site, what would you like that thing to be?
Your site must include clear calls to action (CTAs) to direct users along their journey.
If you want them to buy a product from your website, you need to funnel them towards this end result rather than leading them to dead ends. Visitors need direction and expect it, so if you don’t include clear CTAs, they will end up confused and irritated, and you will end up with no sales.
5. Why should the visitor buy your product or service?*
*Or do whatever else it is you want them to do (see above point).
You need to work out what your value proposition is: what is the primary reason that a prospect should buy from you? What’s the problem in their life that you are solving with your product? Or how are you improving it?
This is where you convert your visitor into a new customer… But to do this, you must write informative but compelling copy. Visitors need to know things like:
- How much your product or service is
- How to buy it
- Details of what they get when they buy
- FAQs such as contact details, shipping information, how to cancel orders or refund windows
- What other people think
What other people think — trust indicators — are an important part of selling your product or service, or getting more people to subscribe to your site.
Include positive reviews or trustworthy customer testimonials — particularly on landing pages or product pages — to increase your conversion rates. Want to know more? Check out this great post on customer testimonials.
6. How are you going to measure your success?
Something to think about when work on a website is how you’re going to record your results and measure your success.
This could be:
- the number of products you sell
- the amount of traffic to your site
- the number of subscribers or followers you gain
You need to incorporate these plans into the design of your new website. These can feed into a bigger marketing strategy, and what you hope to achieve with your business.
Having this question in mind from the very beginning will help you to establish and monitor your website goals. It also means you can direct your plans via making changes to your website — don’t be afraid to experiment with what works well on your site!
7. Does it all come together?
And lastly, does everything on your website come together? Have you answered all of the questions above so that your visitor has a clear idea of who your business is and what you’re offering?
You must have consistency when you’re working on a new website.
This means everything from color schemes and fonts, to tone of voice, to brand image, to product descriptions. All of this should work together on your site to create a seamless image of a strong brand.
Answering the above questions will help you to make a website that is user friendly, clear and consistent. This gives you and your business a way better chance of succeeding in a busy marketplace and creating a loyal customer base.
Do you think we missed out any key questions? Let us know in the comments below.
- 7 Questions You Must Answer When Working On A New Website - October 10, 2018
- Freelance Survival: How to Make The Flexible Lifestyle Work For You - February 9, 2018
- What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Freelancing - December 1, 2017