What makes a great website?

What makes a great website?

If your answer is compelling graphics, powerful messaging and great SEO, I would say, well, yes, those things can be used to make a pretty awesome site. But they can also be used to make a site that  sits silently on the web gathering dust. More than having the right ingredients, success is about having the right effects:

A great website has a measurable positive impact on your business. It might even transform the way you do business.

A great website could directly lead to:

  • More inquiries
  • More customers
  • More communication with your audience
  • Less phone calls for support
  • Less time spent on repetitive business tasks
  • Less money spent on other forms of marketing

So, how do you create a website that has a measurable impact on your business? First you define your business goals as honestly and profoundly as you can. This entails taking a close look at your life and how your business can help you succeed on all levels.

To get a better idea of what these kinds of deep goals look like, let’s use an example: meet Ted Smith. Ted has owned Ted’s Top Auto Parts for 15 years. He has 4 longtime employees who handle most of the customer service and delivery while he focuses on management and maintaining inventory. He works long hours and often misses dinner with his wife and kids. After 15 years, Ted is ready to rethink “business as usual”.

Basically, Ted wants to work less and make more.

In precise terms, Ted’s current business goals might look like:

  • Work less hours so that he can spend more time with his family (from 10 hour days to 6 hour days)
  • Increase the volume of sales by 20% in the next year
  • Reduce the amount of time employees spend on the phone taking orders and helping customers with their accounts so that his manager, Sam, has more time to focus on marketing activities

The next step is to determine how Ted’s website could help him achieve his business goals. At this point, Ted hires a web developer and they translate the list above into the following website goals:

  • Enable customers to order parts online instead of exclusively via phone
  • Enable customers to manage their accounts themselves (orders, history, order fulfillment) thus preventing lots of additional phone calls
  • Enable customers to find answers to commonly asked questions
  • Reach potential customers in other towns

Next, Ted’s web developer decides on the features and technical tools that will best fulfill the website goals. Usually, there is no single best solution, and it is up to the developer’s experience and creativity to determine the best approach.

The website is then built and rigorously tested to make sure it functions as expected. Before launch, Ted and the web developer revisit the Business Goals. They discuss the best way to measure success, and create a system for doing so. Once the site is launched, both Ted and the web developer continue to monitor the website and business operations to make sure that they’re achieving their original goals.

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