After 20 years of building websites, The Kingdom team are giving you 17 things that you should consider when beginning a new website development.
1) Are you a web designer? (if so, you can skip this step)
Save time, and don't try and design your website yourself. Instead, spend the time analysing your wants and needs. Try to set up a list of goals that you want from your website.
Develop a list of the things that you like within your existing website and the things that you don't like. Find other features of sites that you like. Pick images that match your mood.
Give direction to your web development team based on feelings, not pragmatic unqualified design instruction.
2) Work out who you are speaking to
Speak to your customer, not to yourself. Your customers needs are different than yours. Make sure you are answering their questions.
3) How are you going to get people to your website?
Strategically think about how you are going to get people to your website what you expect to do when the get to there. Importantly how are you going to follow them up afterwards?
4) Social media attracts attention
Social media is not optional. Social attracts strangers to your website, which gives you the chance to convert them to leads. Think about how you are going to use social media and which of your social media platforms need renovation. You should be using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, without exception.
5) List your keywords
Social media and blogging along with keywords are very important to attract customers to your website. When we make websites, we take the 20 words our customers think are relevant to their business then expand that list to over 800.
6) Tenders stifle innovation
Be careful about rushing to tender. Great innovators don't win tenders. Tenders will bring out the best average solution. Particularly if you force people to answer your questions in a tender. Tenders often require a series of questions to be answered. Often the questions are created by a panel that don't know what to ask to get the right solution.
Tenders can deter many innovative businesses from engaging with you. For many in the marketing tech sector, they are a waste of time and a turn-off.
If you have to tender, then ask for credentials first, then meet with the consultants and have them ask you the questions they need to know to be awesome. Let your answers guide the consultant. The Kingdom has a 49-page document that requires answers from the customer before we present any recommendations.
Remember, the ability to win a complex tender is completely different than the combination of skills required to create great websites.
7) Avoid building a website yourself - it's a huge waste of time.
Do it yourself websites look exactly like a do-it-yourself website. If your business is serious about its brand then, unless you are a web developer, your website is going to look home-made and do significant brand damage.
Website development is hard. It's the creation of a computer programme that works on 40 different types of computers and has to communicate to get sales. The Kingdom has no less that 8 different skill sets that contribute to the production of an effective website.
8) It's about solving your customers problems.
Remember it's not all about you.
Your website exists to solve your customers problems.
Providing answers to their questions is the key purpose of you site, not talking about how great you are.
9) Research your buyers journey
Develop an inbound strategy that guides people on their journey. Start with greeting your web stranger with an introduction of who you are and what you do. In the midsection, talk about the features and benefits of you business and how you solve problems, and finish with the buying questions. If you try and close the deal too early, you will be ignored by people who are seeking trust from a website before they buy from it.
10) Avoid using clichéd cheap stock photography
An investment in a professional photography shoot provides you with long lasting assets that are unique to your business. If you are using stock, go with expensive stock libraries like shutterstock.com and try to be more abstract with your image selection.
11) Consider how you are going to introduce personalisation
Facebook is personalised, and more and more websites are using personalisation. Consider a platform that allows you to personalise your content to your audience. HubSpot allows you to create personalised content via Logic statements, providing custom information to each customer.
12) Build your communication channels
The communication channel that you own is email. Make it a goal of your website to harvest as many emails as you possibly can.
13) "Contact us" rarely works
Everybody has it, but it is certainly not the best way to engage your customer. Create content that is desirable for your customer and they will happily exchange their email address for it. It's a win-win.
14) Consider Automated Marketing Software
Automated marketing software, such as HubSpot, does a wonderful job of lead nurturing and drip feeding your potential leads more information that brings them down the sales funnel. If you are thinking of changing your website, then now is a great time to investigate HubSpot and what it can do.
15) Think monthly investment rather than one-off cost
An effective website needs 4 hours a day work on it to return a growing number of leads. Paying a big, one-off sum for a website and forgetting about it after the job is done is expensive for cash flow and prevents you from growing with your site.
Switching to a retainer model gets you a website, plus much more including daily updates, strategy, analysis, plus social media publishing and monitoring.
We recommend working on retainer, plus it's better for your cash flow.
16) Outsourcing allows you to get on with what you do
Website creation is complicated. Plus, you are competing in a highly competitive global market. After 25 years of the Internet, websites are highly advanced. A poor website will not cut it. Generating leads on the Internet requires great content, an excellent inbound marketing strategy, consistent social media publishing and a well built responsive site. Very few businesses have the skill set to do all this properly. By outsourcing, you can continue to be great at what you do best, and have a well managed digital marketing strategy.
If you would like to consider outsourcing the creation of your new website and a content marketing strategy, then The Kingdom can help you. We are a HubSpot Platinum Partner and a leading Australian Inbound Marketing Agency. Why not book a 15-minute introductory chat, it's free and we can point you in the right direction.
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