We joke that we can learn almost anything these days from YouTube. It’s endless library of “how-to” videos have become an amazing resource for our generation. It offers instant advice from people all across the globe, ensuring that you can pretty much accomplish anything you've never done before. From changing your oil, to painting a portrait, there’s a video giving you the play-by-play. The same goes for Pinterest. Thank goodness for this social platform that channels the incredible creativity of DIYers to the rest of us who crave to be more artistic, crafty and thrifty.
With resources like this, among countless others, we've gained a great deal of confidence in what we can do on our own!
Still, there are times when it's critical to call on the experts to make sure things are done correctly. Your brand’s website, is one area that it doesn’t pay to tackle alone.
There are some highly reputable companies out there that allow you to build your own website, but if you're looking to take your business to next-level success, we can say from experience, that getting a web developer is key.
Whether you tap into our talented website designers at Flywheel, or choose a different partner, we want to arm you with a list of the must-have elements you need to discuss to make sure your custom website investment is a win.
Ask for a Custom Design:
Not all website developers are giving you want they promised. Some will have you choose a template that's already been created to simply modify for your brand. Online web design platforms can gain a similar reaction. Just as fonts have become recognizable by name, so have online templates. These templates may be a cost-effective tactic for you, but we advise that if you're investing in designer, confirm that you're getting a custom design. If you believe in your brand's culture, mission, personality, values and solutions, do not skimp on your site.
Also, beware of sending links to sites that you admire to your designer. At times, this is useful in communicating visual elements that you have trouble putting into words. However, because some designers are afraid of displeasing you, they will replicate the framework of what you send. Be clear on what is an inspiration and what is a requirement so that you get the custom quality that you're paying for.
You may have way too much on your plate to be worried about your website content. And that's fine! However, if you're looking to be a little more engaged with your homepage content, blog and images, check with your designer to see what accessibility you will have as an administrator. At the very least, we urge you to make sure you have all the log-in credentials for the site's platform and domain host.
Involve your CRM:
You are constantly seeking to nurture your customers and leads, no? Because these contacts are vital to meeting your goals, discuss integrating your new website with your customer management system. With technology as advanced as it is today, you have the power (if you have the capital) to monitor what your customers are viewing on your website, know if they have left an item in their shopping cart without purchasing it and find out how often they are visiting your company site.
Leads collected on landing pages and other contact forms are hugely important to you, which is why you don't want to allow for human error to potentially let any of those individuals slip through the cracks. It is possible for these forms to create new lead profiles in your CRM, saving your company time and automating a nurturing customer journey that promotes a lasting partnership.
Keep an Eye on the Timeline:
Your web designer and developer will not be able to promise you a go-live date right off the bat, but they can give you a timeline of steps that need to be taken in order for your collaborative project to be successful. Typically, this process involves a:
- Discovery Phase: where you will discuss your business goals and online objectives, as well as some must-haves for your website.
- Blueprint Phase: where your developers will outline a framework for the site, which includes the navigation and possible the overall structure of the homepage. This is also the time when you sign off on the concept.
- Design Phase: when your team and your web designers will collaborate to determine who is responsible for writing copy and taking photos, among other things. You can trim the cost of the project by incorporating your own photography, but just remember that photos and video are what engage your audience. Your website is only as good as its content.
- Development Phase: where you have to sit back and be patient as your designers do what they do best. A good partner will keep you abreast of their progress, but if not, don't be afraid to ask. You're the client.
- Testing Phase: where your site will be poked and prodded by everyone on your team to make sure everything is as it should be. Forms should be tested, load times should be fast and there are no broken links.
- Launch: where you want to celebrate—and you should!—but also be ready to field feedback, take suggestions and adjust as needed. Just remember that everyone has an opinion. It is your job to be the filter for which opinions matter and which should be ignored.
Bring Up Search Engine Optimization:
Bring Up Search Engine Optimization:
Just when you think you've figured out SEO, the rules of the game change. Unless you spend the majority of your time keeping up with Google's algorithms, please check with your web developers to see how they can help you optimize your new website. Bring this up early in conversation, preferably before you hire them, to see what their knowledge level is and if they can help you. It is possible you may need to incorporate a third-party, although at Flywheel, we pride ourselves on being a full-service partner in this area. We find that too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the soup.
Create a Memorable Customer Experience:
There are advanced opportunities to engage your audience that you just might not even know about. You can personalize your customer experience with AI or Artificial Intelligence, using Chatbots, for example. You can also connect with your visitor through storytelling and UX writing that is more relatable and not so "corporate". Comparison shopping, customer segmentation and geo-fencing are all things that can be easily forgotten while laser-focused on the homepage. Even incorporating new photography or a video to better communicate your products or services can make a considerable impact on the user experience. Educate yourself and don't be afraid to ask the necessary questions!
These are just a few ideas to help get your wheels turning. If you're struggling to find the momentum that you need, Flywheel is always here as a sounding board and guide to help you reach hero status in no time. Tell us about your vision for your brand. Fill out this short survey to get the conversation going!