So you started your business a couple of years ago and things seem to be going just as you’d like. But when was the last time you spoke to your web designer? Staying in touch with your web designer is important. More to the point, making sure you pick a web designer that stays in touch with you is even more vital.
Whilst your website may still have your company logo at the top and still use all the colours of your branding and may even look up to date with modern design trends, does it still truly reflect what your business is all about? Like technology, small businesses often adapt and change at a rapid rate these days (especially if you’re a small business that works in the technology sector)! I’m willing to bet that if you had your website designed over a year ago, and certainly if it was over two years ago; that your business has changed a hell of a lot in that time.
Below are a few of my top tips to ensure that your website keeps up with your business.
1. Look at your website with a fresh pair of eyes.
Imagine you’ve never seen your website before. Better yet, imagine you’re someone who has never even heard of your business before. Would it be clear to you what your company does? This can sometimes be really hard to do, especially if what your business does is very personal to you; my tip here? Ask a friend or family member who does really know what you do to take a look at your website, and then tell you what it is that you do! Quite often businesses can take a slight change in direction in terms of the focus of their business, the specialism they pursue or even the specific services/products that they offer. If that sounds like your business, and you haven’t changed your website in that period of time then its highly likely that someone who is looking at your website for the very first time just won’t get what you do (or they’ll think you do something that you don’t do anymore)!
2. Look at your website through the eyes of your best client.
When first starting a business and putting a website together I recommend that people think about their ideal client, and look at what they want the website to do for that person. When your business has been going for a few years its likely that you’ve got a ‘best customer’ or even you’re really lucky you might have a few of them! Think about what makes that client so great, what they see in you as a business, and then take a look at your website through their eyes. Does it say what you want them to do? Would it attract more people like your best client to want to work with you? Do you need to change your message slightly? Are there services/products that you provide to your best customer that aren’t even prominently displayed on your website?
3. What do you want your website to do?
One of my biggest beliefs in the web design industry, and something that I will always stress to my clients is that purpose is far more important than aesthetics. Any web designer worth their salt should be able to create a ‘good looking’ website; and in actual fact once you work out what you want your website to do (really do) for your business, the aesthetics tend to follow naturally as part of the fulfilment of that purpose. One of my favourite quotes is from Steve Jobs who said “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” This isn’t to say that the look and feel isn’t important, more that it shouldn’t overtake the priority of how something works, what it is supposed to do and what it needs to achieve.
4. What did you want your website to do six months, a year, even two years ago?
There is so much that a website can do and so much that it can achieve for your business that it is difficult to nail down the true purpose of your website when first putting it together; but it’s definitely worth trying to work this out! Whether it’s selling products directly to your customer base, creating a database for future marketing campaigns, or simply acting as a shop window or a backup to your networking efforts; knowing what you want your website to do and to achieve for your business is absolutely vital.
5. Were your answers to the last two questions the same?
This is a really important question to answer. Seriously. So if you glossed over the last two questions at least read the bold headings and have a think about them. So what were your answers to the last two questions (here I’ll help you out):
- What do you want your website to do?
- What did you want your website to do when you first built it (six months, a year, even two years ago)?
Even your answers to these two questions are different then you seriously need to get back in touch with your web designer, because your website just won’t be working as hard as it can for your business! There is one exception of course… if you don’t know what you want your website to do in the first place! This is just as bad as your answers being different. Either way, this means your website is either fulfilling a purpose that just isn’t very relevant to your business any more, or your website is sitting there without purpose like a pen with no ink!