With or without great web design, 90% of websites fail. They don’t attract visitors, they don’t get users to sign up, they don’t generate leads, create customers, and so on. In other words, they are a waste of time and money for the business they are supposed to be promoting. But the quality of the site is not always to blame. Often, these websites fail because they make the most critical and most common of web design mistakes.
As an Internet marketing specialist, I see this on a regular basis. Companies have just paid thousands of pounds for a new website, of which they are very proud, even boastful.They seek my help to market it. But I have to pull them back to reality. If I am to market the site successfully, they will have to spend even more thousands – to make the web site marketable.
Naturally, any web owners react badly to your apparent criticism of their new site. Also, having just spent so much money, they cringe at the thought of paying more. In many cases, they don’t even have the budget for costly changes. Worse, although far from being the worst websites, any are built so badly that they require major surgery.
It’s a real shame that they had not done more work prior to designing their site. That’s because the critical and most common mistake occurs before development. To paraphrase an American president, “it’s the marketing, stupid!”
Often, web designers and/or their clients forget about or give little thought to the marketing. In other words, they develop and upload their website. And only then do they consider how they are going to market it.
Avoid that mistake and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Not to mention saving money on changes that you should never have needed. Then, from the start, you’ll have a web site that can hit the ground running from a marketing point of view.
So, how can you deal with this? Unfortunately, it’s not possible to set out a detailed pre-build marketing plan in a short article, so I can only give you any ideas.
First, determine the objective of your site. Decide why you are creating this site and what you expect it to achieve. Objectives could include promoting your corporate brand, building a mailing list, lead generation, or selling your products direct online (e-commerce).
Second, clearly define your target market (s). Decided niche you need to target, ensuring that this is the right place for you. Decide who it is that you aim to communicate with. What problems are they seeking to solve? What kind of text, images, language, terms do these users associate with their problem? So, plan how to shape your offer on the website to satisfy these customers’ needs.
Third, take into account the amount of demand online for your product or service, bearing in mind your chosen niche. Remember that the Internet is very competitive and never assume that you will achieve a high market share. Generally, the niche has to be large enough for you to survive on a small share.
Forth, plan your Internet marketing. It doesn’t have to be formal, but you must at least know how you’re going to promote your website. Because that is critical to how you develop your web pages. For instance, if you intend to rely on search engine optimisation (SEO), then you must research the appropriate keywords in advance of any web design.
Fifth, articulate the selling messages and the competitive advantages you intend to promote. At the very least, you must be able to offer visitors a better deal than they can get from your competitors. Again, this information is critical to your web design.
My point is: Only after you’ve planned the marketing should you start to design your website.