Help your web site reach its full potential
When you think of web development then you just need to have a site map and this will put you on the road to success – not true. Although having a clear understanding of page requirements would start your thought process it is not the most important factor.
The first thing you need to look at is to ensure that your web site is developed optimally is that your visitors would be able to receive maximum information from your site once they have reached it. Maximising your web site’s potential can only be achieved by interlinking your available information in such a way as to allow the user a number of options based upon their initial action.
These additional links needs to add value, you need to think about the inherent data relationships prior to your web site development to ensure that this is done professionally and adequately. As an example: If you are showcasing products, and a user lands on a specific product page should it not be advisable to show related product? If you however take it a bit further and allow for easy comparison between related products then you will allow the user to make a quick decision as to which of these products would be best suited.
The user has now found a product that they want, then it should be easy and accessible to find out how to purchase this product. If the user is unsure how to utilise this product should there not be hints or tips to show how this product is best used?
Showcasing other happy clients who used this product, as well as recommendation or case studies will also enhance user experience and will draw a client into your site, making sure that your user who landed on your site is provided with as much information as possible to make an informed decision about purchasing your product.
All of the above should be part of the discussion you should have with your web developer to ensure that you make the most of what you have to work with.
Function dictates form
If you have done the above it should be easy to then take the next step and look at the functions your web site would require.
A lot of the time clients still refer to pages they want – “I want a 5 page web site, what will it cost”. In web design all pages are not created equal and you need to look at what functions would best deliver your key requirements. Don’t refer to only one function “I want an e-commerce web site developed” as this again provides a limited view of what is required to develop and complete your web site successfully.
Set up goals
As your web site is part of a bigger picture you also need to look at how your site would be designed to adjust to changes within your business. As with all other business decisions you should look at short, medium and long-term planning to ensure that the system that is developed would be able to grow with you.
It is important to think about what specific goals you wish to achieve from your web site. Is it information sharing, selling, lead generation, educational or all of the above?
A web site is very rarely a single development which means that you need to keep it current and share insight as it becomes necessary. An outdated web site detracts from your company’s professional image and will leave you lacking when it comes to keeping up with the competition. The whole industry has evolved and your visitor will not be satisfied with a lack of information or dated information
Make the most of what you have
When you think of the functions and goals of your site, you will also start to look at how your data structure works. You will look at the relationship between function and data structures.
Don’t commit to servicing or maintaining anything that you do not have infrastructure to manage in the short or long-term. It is detrimental to web site when the information is dated or lacking due to a company overreaching when they initially develop their web site.
If you do not have the structure within your company you could discuss a long-term contract with Ladybug Digital to update and maintain key areas of your site. The greatest benefit of doing this is that you have access to a complete team and their specialities.
If you are talking to a web site development company and have not been asked to answer or outline the above areas of your business, then you are not going to maximise your web site’s full potential.
Launching your web site
Your web site is now completed and you are ready for launch. Did you test your site? A lot of the time sites are published in good faith that the developer has checked and tested the site thoroughly whilst development took place.
Although this should be the case there is always room for error it is better to launch your site within your company to allow additional user testing to ensure that you are happy with your end product. It is also a useful process to follow to ensure usability.
One of the key benefits of making use of the ANTISTATIC content manager is that you are able to create a workable wireframe for reviewing all the variables prior to design even taking place. If you are unsure if something would be easy accessible or user-friendly you can already test this in advance.
Once you have completed the initial development you are now ready to launch your web site.