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Guidelines for Developing a Website: what you should know to make you website sell

Web design

Author Val

Guidelines for Developing a Website: what you should know to make you website sell

June 19, 2019

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10 min read

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In order to help companies set the right priorities when developing or redesigning a site, we will tell you about the common mistakes made when developing the site and the the approach we use to achieve our clients’ business aims.

Why doesn’t it work

Ineffective work on the site results from the mistakes made by web design agencies multiplied by the clients’ mistakes and complemented with the chaotic development process.

Mistakes of the web design agency

Superficial development: web studios do not key into the business, product or service.

The site demonstrates what is already known: it is worth discovering and showing something unobvious, yet necessary for every customer segment.

The site is not integrated into the company business processes: web design agencies take no interest in that.

Marketing and sales are not automated.

Clients’ mistakes:

Clients’ mistakes result point-blank from the errors of web design agencies, which further complicates the problem with the site:

Clients are confident in their knowledge: all employees being top-managers or marketing specialists have their own view of how to best develop a site or they likes someone else’s site design due to its layout.

The user interface dominates over business aims, research or common sense: the business aims to take a back seat.

The basic aims of the site are not defined, so KPI is not performed.

Site content creation time is not taken into account: behind the scenes, content creation makes up 60% of work

Speculation on the cost in terms of “cheap” and “expensive”: only the site that makes a buck or not in the specified time is in business.

Chaotic site development process:

How is a site created? A web design agency and a client meet for 2-3 hours to have a cup of coffee. The client explains what he wants to the developers; the developers consider the client’s business fully explored. Then the terms of reference are developed as well as website design, coding, programming, testing etc. are carried out.

When the site is launched, out of a sudden the client members that something was left out – but this means extra work and may lead to a complete redesign of the site, which is not planned in the budget.

Client and web design agency expectations appear not to be aligned. In the end, the client does not get what they want.

The correct website development process

Step 1. To realize that the site is not a product but a marketing process

The site is a process, which presupposes constant cash infusions and efforts made.

Along with developing the business, the site much undergoes changes and reorganization.

Be ready to participate in the development process, involve contractors and other employees of your company.

Step 2. Make the right choice of the web design agency

1. The agency involved in internet marketing besides web design, as a rule, is experienced in what is needed for a successful website and its promotion.

2. Portfolio of the agency comprises cases, in which business research and web design analytics were conducted with the findings presented in the form of the aims achieved.

3. The agency works on the project in separate teams and delegates tasks to various departments and specialists.

4. The agency performs the following tasks at the start of the project:

  • Study of the current marketing trends, the market, the client’s business including the business aims, positioning, and the unique selling point.
  • Target audience segmentation
  • Demand analysis
  • Competitors analysis
  • Audit of the existing site and current advertising campaigns
  • Internet marketing strategy development

5. The website development process involves the following stages:

  • Meeting to discuss aims and wishes
  • Completion of a brief
  • Study of the business itself, its product, target audience, market and competitors
  • Audit of the current version of the site and advertising campaigns
  • Strategy development and site structuring
  • Development of terms of reference
  • Prototyping
  • Design
  • Content development
  • Programming
  • Testing
  • Site launch
  • Training
  • Technical support and development

6. The agency has experience of business automation by ourselves or by reliable partners.

Step 3. Develop an internet marketing strategy

In order to develop a strategy, it is necessary to:

1. Analyze the business model of the company. To form the brief on the market, the business, the products and services and to analyze automation.

2. Set the aims and tasks for internet marketing

3. Understand the target audience

4. Analyze the site, online and offline advertising as well as the content and the data gathered on analytics.

5. Study the demand formed in the internet

6. Study the competitors, offline as well

7. Forecast return on investments in the site development

Step 4. Ace in the site structure

The site structure is a marketing, demand, and audience segment-based grid, not a mere collection of pages as viewed by the developer. It combines:

  • Data on the approaches, competences and services
  • Achievements (cases)
  • Specialized digital solutions
  • Specific products, equipment, and materials
  • Information environment (questions, articles, terms)

The structure covers all queries on the subject. For every audience segment, a number of pages and sections are developed to encourage the client to buy.

Step 5. Don’t create a landing page instead of a site. Create a site from landing pages and rip your competitors to shreds

All product pages of the site (better yet every page) must be designed as landing pages.

Every product, service or USP are presented in detail and accompanied with information graphic, video, instructions, and cases.

Step 6. Work on the convincing and inbound marketing capacity of the site

On the basis of research, all the functionality spotted on the competitors’’ sites as well as demanded by the market, is implemented: collators, calculators, task schedulers.

This is the way product filtering as required by customers is conducted.

Step 7. Rationalize marketing automation

Introduction of marketing automation enables to increase the conversion rate. The advantage of marketing automation is a chance to automatically generate leads, push up sales as well as increase the average basket. Marketing automation also enables to cut costs on canvassing one customer.

Website structure development demands to take into account the automation strategy.

Automation has to be integrated correctly in your business processes and then it will produce a considerable effect. Check how the implementation of marketing automation on a florist website helped push up sales by 55,5%.

Step 8. Adaptability to mobile devices

You may think that some projects do not demand a focus on mobile design. In 2015, mobile traffic was 20%, however, by 2016 it reached 50%.

Thus, do not launch your site without the design and layout for mobile devices for no well-grounded reason.

Step 9. Linking the site with the Sales Department and analytics

What is customized analytics:

  • The site connects to the ledger system (CRM etc.)
  • Analytics is customized with regard to the aims and events and involves the call tracking and cross-domain analytics
  • Regular reporting is organized and business KPI and site profitability are calculated

Step 10. Site maintenance

As a rule, the client lacks competences to maintain their site and the site demands monthly maintenance and support.

The agency must eliminate bugs, upgrade the services, make regular changes and adjustments following the analysis and customize the site to business events.

Website cost and time limits

Time limit: 2-3 months minimum

But the development of the basic version is more likely to take up to 4-6 months. Then, it is further developed as to additional content and SEO, and it is adjusted based on the behavior of the real audience and changes in the business environment and market in the following 6-9 months.

The costs either payback or not.

As we have already mentioned at the beginning of the article, the site either pays back within a certain time period, or it doesn’t. Most often, short-term (one-year) payback is negative, however, in two years the dynamics becomes positive.

How to calculate the site payback

1. We calculate the cost of site development

2. We settle on the business factors:

  • Leads
  • Sales
  • Revenue
  • Profit margin
  • Conversion to the application
  • Conversion to the lead-sales
  • Client mark-up

3. We form a revenue and expenditure schedule using various marketing tools.

Site payback forecast is not itself a guarantee but a benchmark to be regularly checked with.

If you made all the above-mentioned steps, there is a chance that your site will become a genuine business tool, but not a beautiful image telling about your company.

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