Further success with your social media marketing and overall improvements with regard to online presence may be some of the hot topics as you venture into 2011. Not only can social media marketing and an increase throughout social networks generate interest in your company, but it can also help your business go viral throughout those sites. This, of course, means increased revenue for you, and the ability to generate an alternate stream of income. However, can you truly get the job done with your current website?
The vast majority of businesses today have determined (or are in the process of determining) that their current site is just not suitable for their present audience. Whether it be the functionality of their current site, the outdated content throughout the pages, or the overall look and feel, the goal of your redesign will primarily be focused on meeting the ever-changing needs of your clientele. But, there are significant things you need to know before you choose a designer/developer:
Think about hiring a person to work as your lead marketing director and not doing a background check, contacting references, or browsing through a resume. It would be a complete mistake, right? You would essentially be handing the proverbial (and maybe even literal) keys to your company to a person that may run you into the ground.
Now, it may not be as drastic as that example, but if you don’t take the time to check out a company’s portfolio, contacting their previous/current clients, or talk about what accomplishments they helped their clients achieve then your selection process might as well be posting pictures on a dartboard and blindly throwing a dart at them.
The bottom line with a web design company is that you absolutely do want to get all of their information and then a little more on top of that as well. Contact their current and previous clients to find out what they did well, what they could have done better, and anything else that will help you meet the needs of your project. You also want to find out the exact results they have helped their clients attain through projects similar to yours. Overall, understanding all of this information will help you meet the needs of your customers and grow your business.
Planning & Research
Have you ever played golf?
Even if you haven’t, you have to try and play golf in the dark, but you have to make sure that the moon isn’t out because that can shed some sort of light on what you are doing. Think about how great you’d play – you’d be almost perfect, right? Not quite correct, but you might hit a few good shots.
Designing a website without planning and research is like playing golf in the dark – yes, you might get lucky with a few features here and there, but it will never be exactly what you (or your clientele) want. So, make sure you find out what processes they have in place for researching your local and national competition. You also need to know what is in place for how they reach an initial design. Figuring out this information can truly be the key to the success of your future website.
Take a moment and think about hiring someone to work as your right hand “man”, but the only thing that you know about the person is the information their resume and references provide. Now, on the first day of employment, you get sick and have to leave the company in the hands of this executive assistant; what do you think the outcome would be after 3 months of you not being at the office? Would your brand message still be delivered the way that you envisioned? Of course not, but that is why you are involved – to make sure that your message gets delivered accurately and efficiently.
Now, we aren’t saying that you have to be designing the website yourself, but who knows your company better than you? It is significantly beneficial for you and the web design company to have your input throughout the entire project. It allows you to provide consistent feedback as well as affords an opportunity for the web design firm to keep an “eye on the prize”.
So, as you take the next step in the design process you need to make sure you know when and where you can get involved with regard to the project, how much involvement their previous clients had in their projects, and whether or not your criticism is valued (you can tell this if the design firm takes notes and actively listens during the initial consultation).
In summary, your web design process is one of the most important marketing projects that your company can experience. The right website can significantly boost your social media marketing success as well as your overall online presence and industry authority. So, before you venture into the process make sure you know the design firm’s track record, the extent of their planning and research, and the level of involvement you will have. Knowing that information will absolutely enhance the final product and your website satisfaction!
If website design is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.
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Image Source: HubSpot, “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing”, E-Marketer.com