Why do you have a website?
Like the rest of your marketing toolbox, the purpose of your website generally can be traced back to “maximizing profits”. This may seem overly crass, but of course, the details of the execution here are crucial. Depending on the industry, maximizing profit may look a lot different on a case-by-case basis. It’s important to figure out early on in the web design process how your website is intended to support your overall marketing efforts. The important question is:
What do you want people to do, and how easy is it to do that?
Say we’ve got three different clients looking for websites. The first makes custom smartphone accessories and wants to sell them directly to consumers. The second is a fairly well-established tool & die manufacturer looking to secure its position as an industry leader, and accrue new clients. The third is a local restaurant looking to bolster their marketing with a website.
Our smartphone accessory maker wants people to buy their accessories. They’ll need a mobile site that loads lightning-fast, with great pictures of their products in action, and an easy way to buy them. These users are bandwidth-constrained, so we’ll reduce the overhead of the site as much as possible by optimizing images or using other techniques to get a suitable aesthetic while providing a great user experience. Their e-commerce solution will need to be fast, easy to use, and thoroughly integrated with the site. They want people buying their accessories, so we remove every little bit of friction possible from that process.
In the case of the tool & die manufacturer, they’ll be emphasizing business-to-business marketing. We’ll want the site to work well on smartphones & tablets, but that probably won’t be our primary concern. We may need to pay extra attention to compatibility with older browsers, as their clients may not be on the cutting edge. We want to make information about the company readily accessible, and give good reasons for companies in need of manufacturing assistance to consider them first. It’s also important to consider how people in the business search for manufacturing partners, and tailor the web content to that. On top of that, we want to make it easy for their potential clients to become actual clients. We’ll streamline the contact form, and recommend that they name someone specific to be in charge of responding to submissions within hours.
Restaurants want people to visit them, order a lot of food, and tip well. For some reason, many restaurant websites do nothing to help these goals. Much like the smartphone accessory maker, it’s crucial to tailor this site to at least be accessible by smartphones. After all, if a group of friends is out & about and trying to decide on a dinner destination for the evening, we don’t want them going elsewhere because they can’t find the restaurant’s address, hours, or menu on their site. So we make a nice quick site with all that information quickly & readily accessible.
As you can see, the goals of any given website could vary wildly. With this in mind, careful consideration of your goals is essential as you add a website to your marketing efforts.