The Process of Building a New Website
Phase 1: Planning
Is your website up to date? When was the last time you made a significant change in the design, structure, navigation, content, or its functionalities? Do you know that on average, you should completely redesign your website every 2 or 3 years to keep its modern look and good performance? If this time has passed for your website, it might be high time you started planning for a new one.
Renewing a website is a complex process, that needs to be divided into several phases. The first one is the preparation of a thorough Website Brief and Overall Planning which includes the following steps:
Step 1: Design your Value Proposition
Why should someone do business with you? The answer to this question is the exact definition of your value proposition. You should be clear about your promises and the benefits a client would get when working with you. Here is what you need to include within your company value proposition:
- 3 to 5 sentences that best describe what your business do – no matter if you offer software development, web hosting or IT outsourcing solutions, here is the place to make it clear for your audience
- 3 main problems or issues that you solve – within every industry certain difficulties will always exist. Think about which they are for your target clients and list them starting from the most painful one. This could be the lack of software development capabilities for tech companies, the poor web hosting support that online businesses receive or anything else.
- 3 major benefits that customers derive from your service – will they take advantage from cost optimization, better and more stable IT infrastructure or a faster website? Tell them what the expected outcome from your partnership will be.
Step 2: Identify Your Buyer Persona – to Whom Will You Sell?
A common mistake for many businesses is trying to sell to everyone. They skip working on their target buyer persona(s) and end up with obscure profile of ideal buyers and poor ideas how to reach and engage them. However, if you do make the effort to go in details about your ideal clients, this could later lead to a doubling of the number of page views per visit of your website, according to SEMrush. In addition, using buyer personas can help all your teams design and deliver better products and services.
Here is what you need to know as minimum about your desired customers:
- their demographics – try come out with age, gender, level of income and location of your target buyers. Being aware of their family status and level of education would be also helpful.
- their professional status – in many cases people’s job occupation influences or determines their buying habits and behavior
- pain points – try to really understand their problems, fears, and obstacles
- psychographics – examine their beliefs, values, and goals
- influences and information sources – research more about their favorite media, blogs, events, and influencing powers
- purchasing behavior and their role in the decision-making process
A great and helpful addition to SEMrush buyer persona guide is HubSpot’s buyer persona creation tool.
Step 3: Identify Market Trends
When planning your new website you are not supposed to invent a new approach towards the structure, content, or functionalities. You simply need to observe market trends and adapt those elements to what is currently attractive for your target users. Here are some reliable sources of inspiration:
- listen to your customers – in the end of the day, all you do is intended to support them. Pay attention to their industry, business, interests, current issues, and feedback to come out with ideas for your new website.
- examine industry landscape – currently, almost every industry is going through or is heading towards transformation. Get a real picture of the process and trends and try to predict what will be important for yours and your clients’ industries in the next months and years and use it as a basis for your website content.
- empower analytics and digital tools – tracking users’ behavior and signals is the most reliable source of feedback for the quality of your website. Take advantage of tools such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, or SEMrush to see how people interact with it and how you can optimize its performance.
Step 4: Analyze Competitors
Competitors are also part of the market environment, but they deserve exclusive attention. It is a great opportunity to check how they have organized their website, what works for them and which their flaws are. Thanks to SEMrush, you can even check how their websites rank and what you can do to outperform them. Beware that blindly following and copying competitors would hardly bring you the results you want, but it is always a good idea to have an eye on their:
- user reviews
- social media channels
- overall positioning and message to the market
- reaction to emerging trends
Step 5: Write a Detailed Brief
This is a crucial step towards developing a good website. No matter whether you are developing your new site in-house or you are outsourcing the job to an agency, you should state clearly the overall objectives, the deliverables, and the expected outcome from the development project. Here is the place to state the outcome from the previous points and define your:
- key value proposition
- the user journey
- your conversion points
Elementor’s blog contains useful resources that will guide you through the whole briefing process and will also provide you with a good website brief template.
Step 6: Prepare a Content Development Plan
Redesigning your website does not mean creating everything from scratch. Of course, you will be using your most popular content again as long as it fits your business needs. At this step you should be aware of users’ interaction with your current website, the way the use existing content and the “feedback” they give by clicking more on some pages and abandoning others. Now is the time to decide which of the following will be your main goal:
- Driving traffic to your website
- Generating and converting leads
- Creating brand awareness
- Improving SEO
Depending on the chosen goal you might be putting focus on one or more of the following content formats on the website:
- Blog posts
- Case Studies
If you consider emphasizing on any of these, the best time to decide it is during the website planning process.
The process doesn’t stop with planning, developing or releasing the renewed website. It simply goes to phase 2.
What is phase 2? Expect more soon!