When it comes to the online presence of your business, it’s never “just a website.” Telling someone you want “just a website,” is very similar to telling a car dealership you want “just a car,” or your realtor you want “just a house.”
In the same fashion that you make your other purchase decisions in life (everything from what you want on your sandwich at lunch to where you want to take your vacation), attention must be paid to the intricate details of your website.
From a creative agency standpoint, I can say that having more information about what you want your website to do and your business/professional goals, helps us to better assess your situation and develop a custom plan of action to secure your success.
Here are 5 simple questions you should ask yourself before you even think of reaching out to a freelancer or creative agency:
1. What is the purpose of my website? Am I selling a service or a product that someone needs to buy? Am I calling someone’s attention to resources and other valuable information? Do I need someone to sign up for a newsletter or a consultation? Or is it serving as an online brochure to introduce my business to the world?
2. Who am I targeting? If you could picture your perfect customer/client/audience and who that person is, you can make a website that attracts them along with others too. The answer “oh everybody and anybody is fine,” simply doesn’t cut it. Nike doesn’t sell to “everybody,” and neither does WholeFoods, Outdoor World or BMW. The more information you can give on who you’re targeting, the better chance for a creative agency to deliver a site that gets you the results you’re looking for.
3. Who is my competition? You should know this up front. Who else is doing what I’m doing. Knowing your competition is a key way to gain a competitive advantage over them, and to make sure you separate yourself from the rest in a way that is both professional as well as engaging.
4. What information needs to appear on my website? Sometimes the final content of a website isn’t developed until a sitemap is delivered or an initial conversation is had. That being said, you would be surprised how many website projects are thrown off schedule and even miss their target launch date by a long shot because basic information is available or put together beforehand. You should already know your purpose, mission statement, service/product information, and other basic details about your company. If you’re having trouble writing them, hire a copywriter.
5. What am I responsible for with my website? Believe it or not, websites are kind of like a dance and it takes two to tango. The creative agency is responsible for designing, developing, and deploying your website to a live server. But unless otherwise specified, you may be responsible for professional content/copy, photography, having a key-point of contact for decision making, and responding to questions within a timely manner.
These simple questions, when answered, can go a long way in terms of setting firm goals, managing expectations and establishing a purpose for your website.
Remember, if it truly is “just a website” to you, it may not be worth the investment.