With so much competition for attention, how do you make sure your website rises above to make a great first impression? More than anything else, making strategic decisions for your brand by asking the right questions will ensure that decisions about design or messaging are made with your overall goals in mind. The result being not only the lasting impression you’re looking for, but cohesion between your company values and the website that represents them.
So what are these questions? Here’s a brief list to help get you started:
- What’s unique about your company? What are the unique benefits of your offering?
- How would you briefly describe what your company does in terms of what it’ll do for someone else?
- What’s your vision for your company’s future? Why will it continue to help people?
- Who is your biggest competition? What makes them successful (or unsuccessful as the case may be)?
- Who is your target audience? What are they looking for? Get as specific as you can here — you may need to break it up into different groups.
- What’s the most important decision your customers make when it comes to choosing your company?
- How do you think your company is perceived today, and what do you like and dislike about that?
- Why do you want to have a new website, or have your current website redesigned? What’s the goal?
- Why will people visit your company’s website?
- What do you want people to come away with after visiting your company’s website?
By answering these questions you’ll have lots of information to help inform the decisions you’ll make regarding your website, whether you’re building it yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. As you think about the messaging you’ll include on the site and how it will be designed, referring back to your answers will help guide your plans to make sure you’re serving yourself well. If you’re faced with a difficult decision about how to move forward with your site, the answer that meets the most criteria for your success given your target audience and business goals is most often the right one.
Also consider that you want to promote what you’re good at. This sounds obvious, but when it comes planning for a new web platform consider whether you’re good at adding regular updates to your site (like with a blog) or whether you’d like to invest in it less frequently (like with a quarterly newsletter). If you already have a great Twitter following, but your Facebook page is a bit of a dud, don’t promote them both in the same way. If you already have 10k subscribers to your newsletter, but no one comments on your blog, make sure you encourage more newsletter signups and consider turning off (or seriously downplaying) your blog comments.
The more strategic thinking you do ahead of time, the more you’ll get out of your research, planning meetings, and ultimately your website.