A company website is one of your customer’s first touchpoints with your business. It is a powerful marketing tool that can help make or break a lead. It tells the story of your brand, showcases your products and services, provides a platform for customer feedback and expands your reach across borders.
Determining your company website objectives based on your company’s short and long-term goals is crucial as it helps you measure your ROI. Analytics programs also allow you to collect data about your customers and how they behave on your website which helps in tweaking your strategy to improve your website effectiveness.
Sounds simple? It is! However, in a survey done by Clutch, 29% of small business owners still don’t own a website. Out of these, 31% cited using social media profiles instead of a website while 25% attributed it to a lack of technical knowledge as the top reasons for not having a website.
Image by Clutch
In Southeast Asia, more than half of the population use the internet to find information that provides a solution to their queries. Having a website allows businesses to create and leverage content that will interest consumers regarding their brand’s identity and offers.
5 Crucial Steps That Will Aid Your Company Website’s Pre-Development Phase
1. Know Your Enemy (or Competition)
The best way to learn what a good website looks like is to look at your competitors. Analyzing the competition’s website design, functionality, and practices are vital to ensuring your own business website gets off to the best possible start online. You want to learn what works and what doesn’t in attracting your customers to your website and creating a positive online customer experience through their success. Here are three tools that can help you suss out the competition:
- SEMrush.com (Limited Demo): SEMrush gives you an overview of your competition’s organic and paid searches, their backlinks and unearths other competitors in the space.
- I Web Check: Provides a detailed SEO report you can run for your competitors to find gaps that you can improve on and apply to your own future website.
- Rank2Traffic: This tool shows you the competition’s traffic, including their engagement and keywords they typically use to find the competition.
2. Creating Your Customer’s Persona
Creating your customer persona means defining what your ideal customer looks like. You would need to identify the who, what, why and how of your customer.
Demographics: This covers the “who” of your customer persona. Go through your customer database and pick out the trends in their demographics and background – age group, gender, location, etc. By finding out these information, it would help you create the right messaging to appeal to the audience that you want.
Psychographics: You would also need to know what your customer motivations and challenges are and why they face them. Set up interviews with your top clients and note down quotes that help you understand the language they speak and how to craft the right message.
Once you have gathered these information, you can create your customer persona. If you need help in getting started, download our customer persona template here. [insert download]
3. Map Your Customer’s Digital Journey
Most businesses invest in websites with designs that make for an excellent or unique user experience. However, gimmicks are not everything in selling products or services; it also involves understanding the other areas of your website that users find trouble understanding or navigating.
Here are two things your customer experiences when they visit your company website:
Intent: Understanding your customer’s intent to visit your website allows you to position certain elements that will interest them regarding your offers. For example, as an air-conditioning repair company, audiences might take interest in general DIY cleaning tips, which urges them to subscribe to your newsletter. To urge them further on their customer journey, you can create specific HVAC-brand cleaning tips that you can send directly to their emails.
Obstacles: If your landing page has frustrating navigation issues or even fails to load, customers will look elsewhere for their solutions. If the content on your company website fails to convey your offerings due to difficult terminologies or writing styles, then customers will definitely “bounce” from your site.
The best way to know your customer’s journey is to conduct a survey with a decent sample size to try a test version of your website before launch. Perform an interview or automate it by measuring the customer’s journey length, pages that gain more attention, areas audiences typically stop browsing, links the get the most clicks, and attention to different forms of media present in the website, such as photos or videos.
4. SMART Website Objectives
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, and each of these items are crucial when setting up goals for your site.
What exactly do you want to achieve with your website? Be specific with your goals by attaching concrete numbers such as increasing the number of qualified leads by 10% or improving conversion rates by 5%.
How do you intend to measure the effectiveness of your website? If your objective is to achieve brand awareness, then the number of visitors to your website matters. If it’s to collect leads, then having a contact form helps you track the number of leads you’re getting.
Ensure your goals are realistic. Data you collect from analysing your competitors help you set attainable goals for your site’s conversion rates, brand retention, or overall impressions.
Your website goals need to match your business goals. For example, if your business objective is to grow sales by 25%, your website objectives can be to contribute to 10% of the overall increased sales.
Set a deadline for that goal. Are you able to achieve the results you want from your website in 6 months or do you think you need a year? If you’ve not set up a website, you won’t have data until after the first month is launched and often, you might need to tweak the design of your company website and continue optimizing it till you get it right. So be sure to factor those in when setting your goals.
5. Determine Company Website Purpose
Once you know what your customer needs and have set goals for it, you’re ready to determine what purpose your website will serve your business.
Your website can be one of the following:
An E-Commerce Platform: If you are selling products to users, especially B2C, e-commerce is something you might consider. An e-commerce platform allows users to directly purchase products from your website so ensuring the whole buying process is smooth for your customer is key. For example, Avery Online has a wide product range of stationery products. To showcase their diverse range and make it convenient for their customers to buy their product online, they engaged 2Stallions to develop their e-commerce website. You can work with us or with any other Digital Marketing Agency for your own website.
Service-based Websites: If you’re selling services, then e-commerce is not ideal. Instead, the purpose of the website would be to help tell your brand story and attract customers to want to engage your services. Your website needs to be positioned as the dependable, trustworthy and experience and your website needs to communicate that. This was the case for IBULK Singapore, a dry bulk shipping consultancy company, whose main offering was its consultancy services in chartering, operating, project finance and sale and purchase. Check out their website here.
Blogs: Blogs help you attract a regular audience to keep coming back to your website to read and engage with exciting content. The content needs to appeal to your customers and be regularly updated to maintain a constant stream of visitors who revisit your website. It’s perfect for building brand loyalty or a community.
When determining your website’s purpose, make sure to focus only on one function that would strongly benefit your customers. Once your website is up and running, and you have collected enough data about your customer behaviour on your website, then you can focus on improving or expanding the purpose of your website.
It’s important for every business to have a website, no matter how small but it can be quite daunting if you don’t know where to start. It’s not that difficult to if you start by analysing your competitors, identifying your ideal customer persona and mapping out your customer journey first. These are crucial to developing SMART goals that help you determine the purpose of the website. This helps you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve with your website. With all these information in hand, you will be ready to start developing a website that is efficient and meets all your business goals.
What other data do you think is vital before you develop your business website? Write them down in the comments section below!