Building a new website, whether it’s a new company, new product or service, or time for a redesign, comes with many expectations. It makes sense, of course: hours of planning, designing, and preparing have been put in before the project even starts. And after all the work, we want the best website ever, that will bring in tons of traffic and highly-qualified leads. However, companies are all too often disappointed with the outcome and lack of success following the completion of the new website. This is mainly due to the fact that getting found online is not an overnight feat.
The point here is not to lower your expectations, but to understand what happens in reality and fit your expectations into that.
Unfortunately, many web designers won’t tell you what’s normal to expect or not to expect, because they’re afraid of losing your business or assume you’ll simply get what you want eventually. Here are a few steps you can take before/during hiring a web designer that will make their job easier and your results better.
Have clear, specific goals
Going into a website redesign project with the goal, “I want to get found online and drive leads,” is not appropriate. How do you measure ‘getting found online’ or ‘driving leads’? It’s not specific, it’s not measurable, and there’s no time frame for the goal to be accomplished. When creating goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be, “I want to increase my traffic by 30% in six months,” or, “In four months, I want to be getting five qualified leads every month.” Being able to clearly and concisely identify your goals will help you plan your website more appropriately and help your designer know where the optimization focus needs to be.
If you’re not sure how to begin creating goals, look at the performance your website currently has (if applicable) and consider how to improve it. How many customers per month are you generating from your website now? How many would you like to generate? How quickly do you need to start generating your customer flow?
If you’re creating a completely new website, take a look at how similar companies and websites are performing. Click at the bottom of this blog post to schedule a free competitive analysis for your company.
Do More Research
Doing as much research as you can about your future website can help tremendously. Research what keywords your competitors are using. Make a list of keywords and type those into a search engine to see who is ranking for them currently. (Hint: keywords are better if they are “long-tail.” If you are able, put those keywords into a keyword ranker online to see how difficult it is to rank for them on search engines.
Talk About Expectations
If you’ve found a really great web designer, he or she will bring up goals and expectations early on in your conversations. Many, however, may not bring them up at all. If this is the case, you should bring it up. Tell them your goals. Ask if the goal is realistic and if the timing is realistic. Maybe your goal of getting 30 customers/week is attainable, but not in the first three months. In the end, you should both be on the same page about what will happen, and by when.
If your designer is too vague, evades the subject altogether, or tells you anything that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Cut your strings and run. There are other designers out there who will get you to where you want to be and be straightforward with you, too. Another concern to watch for in your web designer is when they’re all about me, me, me, I, I, I. If all they can talk about is how wonderful they are and what they’ve accomplished for other clients, they’re not focusing enough attention on you and your needs.
We’ve all come to expect instant gratification, especially on the internet. Ironically, when it comes to business on the internet, nothing is instant. For most websites, it takes at least 3-4 months to start seeing results. This is how long it takes to be indexed and to accumulate the number of blog posts, social media buzz, and inbound links to begin breaking through the clutter.
Depending on your goals, the nature of the website, and the congestion of the subject already online, it could take longer. The point is to not expect instantaneous results, but have measurable, timely goals to reach somewhere farther down the road. As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to look at the long-term results and integrate it with a larger, forward-thinking overall strategy.
Click on the link just below to schedule a free website assessment and competitive analysis.