4 Important Elements Before You Build a New Site

 

For nearly 10 years, Clarity has been building websites for our clients, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, and in that time, there are a few things that we’ve seen that cause the projects to take more time or go beyond their budget. Scope creep is the number one cause of this, but that is obvious and self-explanatory, so we don’t need to talk about that.

 

This article is going to cover some other things that you can do to make sure your project goes smoother and makes the stakeholders happy, which is what this article is about.

 

We have seen hundreds of projects where in the middle or end of the project, some employee at our client, usually a stakeholder, that sees the progress of the project is upset because it’s not what they wanted, is missing what they wanted, didn’t take any of their requirements into consideration, or that they weren’t consulted before the project and are going to be unhappy no matter what has or is being built. This is so common an occurrence that Clarity has built in a special meeting before we begin any project to deal with these stakeholders’ ideas and concerns.

 

During the initial pre-sales meetings and demos, we talk about technology, platform, administration, integration, connectivity, functionality, design, etc. so most of the time, we’ve already addressed and met with IT to architect the solution. So this particular meeting isn’t about technology.

 

Key Points of the Discussion

 

Role within Sales                                                    

Although 95% of the time it’s either IT or marketing that drives or funds the new site, one of the main functions or goals of the site is to drive sales. Your site can act as a salesperson 24x7, speak many languages, have global reach, bring visitors to the site, close deals, take orders, answer questions, capture information, and much more. So why aren’t they involved in the decisions for the site?

 

It’s important to define what the sales goals and calls-to-action are on the site. If driving free trial downloads for lead generation is the primary goal of the site, then we better not forget to capture that requirement when we design the new site. We’ve seen time and time again where marketing came in to ‘refresh’ the site and forgot to include important elements from sales.

 

Role within Marketing

As important as the site is to sales, it can be to marketing. Your site is, many times, the first impression of your company to the world, to analysts, potential customers, partners and more. What are the driving factors, goals and calls-to-action on the site that the marketing team wants and needs? Is the main goal to drive lead conversion through SEO, to increase brand awareness, to capture email addresses through white paper registrations or all of the above? These types of requirements are very important to know before jumping into the project.

 

Visitor Personas

Who is visiting your site? Who do you want to visit your site? Who is your target customer? Are they all the same and have you written and designed the entire site for those people? Most of the time, the answer is no.  Not because of any real mistakes, its because the people that are tasked with re-designing the website aren’t the same people that wrote the content 5 years ago. When you decide to re-design the site, take the time to find out who the design and content need to be created for first, then design and write content for that audience. If you want to see a rise in conversions, then make the experience and content exactly what they’re looking for.

 

Analytics - Measuring Success

Finally, if you’re going to invest in a new site, how do you know if your investment has paid off? Most every company uses Google analytics, but only about 10% of its capabilities. It’s not that its difficult to extend or even add another analytics tool, its again that the person charged with the re-design is not the one responsible for making sure that it gathers the right data or metrics. Much of the time, the clients we speak to don’t even know the extent to the metrics that the site can gather and how that data can become business intelligent information to help drive and improve their business. Take the time to talk to each of your teams and ask them what their dream data collection looks like (i.e. sales wants to know every time a client of theirs visits the site, what they look at, for how long, what videos and articles they watched, how many time they viewed items in the store and either added them to the cart and didn’t buy them or deleted them, what is the lifetime number of products they’ve purchased and for how much).

 

The list goes on and on for both sales and marketing on the amount of data and its value that the site can collect.  Make sure you know what you want to collect. Then ask Clarity how we can help you not only collect it, but deliver it in a way to help you improve and grow your business.

 

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