Today’s Biz Ladies post comes to us from Emily Thompson, a designer and strategist for creative entrepreneurs and previous D*S contributor. She’s the founder and designer of Indie Shopography, and works with creatives across the country to create their dream businesses through branding, web design, and strategy from her studio in Florence, Alabama. She also blogs about life and work as a creative entrepreneur on her self-named blog, Emily M Thompson. Today she discusses the questions you should be asking when you start planning your website. Thanks for sharing this helpful perspective with us, Emily! —Stephanie
Read the full post after the jump…
After years of designing and developing websites for creative entrepreneurs, I’ve learned how important it is to focus in on web strategy, and how a website should fully suit the needs of the business.
It’s not just about a cool design anymore; it’s about functionality, mapping growth and reaching your dream customer. And it’s not just us web nerds who are preaching it, but our entrepreneur clients are coming to us looking for solutions, not just a cute website.
There are lots of things that go into the proper planning of a website for your business, but today I want to share with you an easy task you can do yourself when planning a new website, or considering a website tweak or overhaul.
This easy task is to visit each of your website pages – beginning with your homepage (and using this handy website audit worksheet) – and ask yourself three simple questions:
1. Is my core purpose represented?
Every website has a core purpose. Whether or not that core purpose is correctly represented is another matter entirely. But, when you set out to get a new website for your business, you had an end result in mind: sell your products (eCommerce), get hired (hire me page), grow your following (social links or email marketing), share your content (blog), etc. The one of those that’s most important to you and your business model is your core purpose.
Sure, you can have multiple purposes, but you should only have one core purpose. And your goal is to make that core purpose very clear.
What to do: Incorporate your core purpose in natural ways throughout your site. If your core purpose is to get hired, make sure you have a smashing portfolio, your contact page makes it easy for your customers to contact you, and you share content that proves your expertise.
2. Am I addressing my dream customer?
This doesn’t mean every page needs to have a shout-out. Instead, keep your dream customer in mind at all times. For example, if your dream customers are busy moms, they’re not going to have the time to sit down and read a 10-paragraph “about” page, even if it is full of wit and charm. They need the facts: quick and simple.
What to do: Look at your site as if you are your dream customer. Or, better yet, find a dream customer and ask them to give you an honest hand. And be willing to alter things, because – remember – you’re not writing that 10-paragraph “about” page for you, you should be writing it for them.
3. Is everything consistent?
As a designer I have this thing with consistency, and as a strategist I respect this even more. From the fonts you use, to the words you share, consistency breeds legitimacy. And this goes for everything: colors, spacing, use of photos vs. text, lexicon, tense, styling, and structure. Everything should be consistent.
What to do: Unless you really know what you’re doing, keep it simple. Simple is easier to keep consistent. But if simple is not your thing, still go into this with an eye for consistency. Proofread, create a style guide (and stick to it), and otherwise make it all look and sound unified.
If and when each of these questions are answered with a “yes” on each of your pages, then your website has the foundation for having a killer business strategy, and you’re on your way to a website that suits your biz needs.