Growing up in the age of the web, I feel like I’ve seen every kind of website that designers have to offer. From flashy .gif images and blaring music to stripped-down, bare bones design, it’s clear that good design strains to find an online identity.
Beautiful websites certainly exist online, and they’re becoming increasingly prominent. However, some people make a hefty living by website designing in a way that is attractive to the client and the end user, even though nothing has been done to actually generate sales qualified leads.
Many business owners have been convinced by web design agencies that a beautiful website is enough. Meanwhile, the largest, most important piece of the puzzle is entirely left out: A solid website design strategy.
A strategic web design allows your business to pursue lasting and meaningful relationships with paying customers online. A website can be used as a lead conversion machine rather than a traditional brochure.
A great website requires a solid foundation.
Set ambitious goals that you can reach.
Before taking the plunge and investing in a shiny new website, it’s crucial to identify and set goals that will really pay off.
How many leads would you like to see as a result of your new website? What kind of return on investment (R.O.I.) will make the re-design worthwhile? What is the specific timeline for each goal?
During this stage, we recommend identifying key target personas. These are theoretical representations of your target audience, and by approaching your new website with these people in mind, you’ll have a greater chance of custom-tailoring your content to their specific needs.
By identifying goals at the beginning of the project, you’re able to set benchmarks by which you can best determine success once the investment has been made and the website is live.
Don’t let the time and money you spent on the project cloud your vision. Set clear points of evaluation and hold yourself and your designer responsible.
Put an action plan in place.
It’s great to have goals, but if you don’t know how you’re going to acheive them, what’s the point?
Meet as a team and work through each goal of your new website. It’s important to understand that an effective website is not static. A good website grows in value with constant refinement and improvement.
Identify key calls to actions (CTA’s), offers, landing pages, and design elements that will most effectively achieve your end-goals. Build a strong keyword base and determine the most effective site and page structure.
For better or for worse, a quality website requires an investment of both time and money to be successful. Set expectations for goals, timelines, and deliverables in order to prevent confusion.
Start making money.
If your site isn’t generating sales qualified leads, chances are that you’re losing money. It’s easy to take comfort in a beautiful design, but there’s no excuse for ignoring your site analytics.
Most of all, it’s important to embrace your website as a living and growing element of your sales and marketing strategy. It takes goals, planning, and discipline to unlock new lead generation channels.
Don’t throw away your marketing dollars. Invest them in a website that will keep on giving back.