As quarter four ticks by at a ferocious pace, the team at IMS are knee deep in the design and development of new websites for several of our clients who are seeking to start 2018 with a fresh, new online presence. Most marketing professionals will work on a new website project once every three to five years. As such, starting from scratch on a new site can seem daunting especially given the speed at which everything in the digital world changes from SEO best practices to security requirements to responsive design techniques. We often find clients place a huge focus on the look and feel or design elements of their new site while ignoring some pretty basic but crucial project considerations. With this in mind, we have decided to bring you the top three factors, we believe are important for organisations to bear in mind when embarking on a new website project.
1.What is the purpose of your new website?
A website can achieve one or multiple objectives however without articulating and prioritising these objectives at the commencement of the project, it’s unlikely the finished product will satisfy your requirements. Possible website objectives include;
Websites which prioritise lead generation are designed to attract and encourage visitors to provide their contact details in exchange for content e.g. a whitepaper or an eBook hidden behind an email gate. Lead generation focused sites often include an instant chat facility and feature company contact details prominently on each page.
E-commerce sites essentially act in the same manner as a physical store and are designed to make it as easy as possible for visitors to locate and purchase their item(s) of choice.
Some websites exist to simply provide information to a business’s existing customer base. These sites often take the form of a portal where the visitor logs in to access information which is unique to them. Publicly funded websites focused on driving a specific behavioural change around topics such as recycling or smoking cessation are also considered information resource sites.
2. What does success look like for your new site?
There is often massive confusion in terms of what constitutes good or bad website performance. At the commencement of a web project we work with clients to determine a set of monthly key performance indicators for their new site e.g.;
- User and session numbers
- New vs. returning user number
- Percentage of traffic from paid vs. unpaid sources
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
- Average shopping cart value
Setting realistic KPI expectations requires research of industry benchmarks as well as an understanding of the performance of the current site (if one already exists.) A clear set of website KPI’s focuses the project team on delivering a site which not only looks the part but plays its part in contributing to the achievement of overall business goals.
3. What is your audience searching for?
The digital world provides us with some many tools to understand our audience and their search habits and yet so many new websites fail to satisfactorily connect with their target market online. On a macro level, Google’s Keyword Planner essentially provides information on the volume of searches being made for multiple combinations of keywords. At a micro level, if your existing site has an onsite search facility, Google Analytics can help you quickly determine what the most commonly searched terms are on that site. Google’s Search Analytics also provides useful information as to what organic keywords/pages are driving the most traffic to your current site.
Understanding what keywords your target audience is typing into Google means you can ensure the content you feature on your new site resonates with your target market by answering their common queries and addressing their pain points. A solid understanding of the keywords your site needs to optimise from the outset of the project will also result in a streamlined sitemap and navigation, avoiding a flawed site architecture and time and energy being wasted on creating pages and content which don’t generate relevant traffic.
If you would like to discuss your plans for a new website with the IMS Marketing team, please call us on 091 739450 or drop an email to [email protected]