Fashions in websites change, and it can seem like you need a new website more regularly than you need a new wardrobe. But it’s not just the nature of the internet that’s changing, it’s the nature of your business. As you move from development into production or take on more products your target audiences change. Where once you wanted to attract investors, now you want to focus on customers. Or, very likely, now you want to attract both.
It’s very easy to just tweak your website to accommodate your growth – just as your mother would let down the turn-ups in your trousers as you grew. But sooner or later they would end up half way up your calves and be an embarrassment. In a fast growing company there is a danger that just tweaking a site means you don’t actually provide the right information for any of your audiences.
The look of a website is very important, but this shouldn’t be the starting point. However tempting it is to start by calling the designer and saying ‘my favourite colour is blue’ or ‘can you do one of those whizzy graphics’ a better place to begin is by analysing the needs of your audience.
Who wants to visit your website? What do they want when they get there? Depending on who they are this might be background information, places they can buy your product, corporate details, or how much you charge for your services. Your website should make the important information easily accessible – both in the way it is written and in the layout.
If you have distinct audiences wanting different information think about how to present this. It can be appropriate to have more than one website – for example a corporate one for investors or job seekers, and a specific product orientated site. But often it is better to have different areas within the same site, perhaps protecting one with a password.
Finally, it is tempting to populate your website with what you want to say not what people want to hear. While this is a mistake, it is important to think what you want visitors to do. Is it to buy your product? Or to pick up the phone and call you? Everyone likes things to be easy, so if you want them to buy something make sure this is very very simple.