Too often, people jump into creating a website with both feet, but with their eyes closed, heedless of the important prep steps that will make that website successful.
The result: people continue to create websites without a clear purpose, without easy access to desirable actions, or without key visitor incentives for using the site.
People do this hoping they’ve found some “instant win” button, like a killer feature, or an irresistible design. However, none of that will save your site from failure, if you fail to address the below items before you actually sit down and create a website.
Decide the Purpose
The question of purpose is not easily answered. People tend to think here in terms of business outcomes, such as raising revenue, gaining exposure, or even simply “the business needs a website.” Those kinds of goals don’t really address the question, though: What is the purpose behind creating your website?
Here are some good and bad examples of how to decide the purpose behind a website before you create it:
Good reasons to create a website:
- To provide information that demonstrates expertise.
- To provide a public service.
- To enable automated, web-based sales of products and services.
- To allow customers to share feedback and reviews on what you sell.
- To prevent a niche focus, like a special event, from diluting your primary website.
Not-so-good reasons to create a website:
- Because you need a website.
- Because you had an idea for a cool web-based feature.
If you’re a hobbyist, a programmer, or an amateur web designer, then that second list doesn’t really apply to you. You’re going to create a website from time to time, just to hone your skills or have fun. That’s fine!
But for businesses, the “Ooh! Ooh! I got an idea!” urge, and similar motivations, just aren’t going to pan out in the end.
What Else Before You Create a Website?
So what is the real rule of thumb that separates a good reason to create a website, from an unimportant flash in the pan? Actions.
If your website has real purpose behind it, then that’s enough to give the project a green light, but you’re not quite done yet. You have to make that purpose happen, and in order to do that, there are a number of top website design goals that must be achieved.
Read on for part two of this article, “Top Website Design Priorities,” to learn how you can plan your website creation project in ways that greatly increase your chances of return on investment.