I have been involved in several new websites and website refreshes over the years. Can there be a more frustrating process. There always seems to be a reason it can't be completed on time or on budget. My experience is not unique. Can you imagine how nice it would be for a website project to be completed on time and on budget?
There are several inherent problems with traditional web design. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the reiterative process. A single change starts the process all over again. The adage of 1 step forward and 2 steps back definitely applies. Another problem is the dormancy of a website. Websites are put on "set it and forget" mode. We will revisit it next year. In the meantime, the market has changed and new opportunities exist and the website just sits there.
3 Reasons Websites Go Over Budget and Over Schedule
1. Web Developer/Code Dependent
In traditional web design, unless you are experienced in web development and coding you are dependent on someone else to make changes to the website.
Submit a request.
Submit another change request.
A month has now passed! The use of templates that are designed for the end user solve this problem. The coding piece is removed.
Platforms such as Squarepace, WordPress, Wix, GoDaddy and HubSpot offer themed templates for websites. All the coding is done behind the curtain so the end user can add content without any special coding skills required.
2. Lack Of Website Hyper Focus
We need to update our website. Why? Our competitors' sites look better than ours. Reminds me of what my mother used to say to me, "If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?" Being the snarky little ginger that I was, I would reply, "Yes! All my friends would be dead." Didn't work well with my mother and won't work well for your business. It costs money to refresh a website. The lack of a hyper focus makes your website a cost center not a revenue generator. If you are going to spend money on your website, then shouldn't it have a desired outcome and ROI? If all you want is your contact information, then go with a simple contact page. The reality is, most people use the internet to research potential vendors.
Research from Google has shown that 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases.
Average Searches Conducted Prior to Engagement
Image Source: Google
A hyper-focused website will solve problems for visitors. Potential customers, when searching the internet for vendors, want to understand your capabilities and unique value proposition to solve their problem so they can move forward in the buying process. This is why it is important to understand your customers using Buyer Personas. Once identified, you can provide highly relevant hyper focused content that will lead them through the buyers journey.
Pro Tip: Ask your current customers what they want to see on your website.
3. Ignoring Low Hanging Fruit
While a cool digital online tool seems like a nice addition, they can be expensive to develop. Focus on low hanging fruit first. The revenue generated can then be used to pay for the cool digital tools. How do you find low hanging fruit? Identify friction points in the conversion process with Google Analytics. An easy way to do this is to set up goals in Google Analytics. If you have not set goals in Google Analytics read this article.
Once you have identified the friction points, design the conversion process so it is easy for your website visitors to get the information they need. Solve the problem. Don't be the problem.
Another method to identify low hanging fruit is to look at the conversion rate via form submission.
Are the forms the same? Where are the dropping off? Is the offer perceived as high value to the visitor? Consider using a heat map to find friction points. Heat maps follow user flow so you can visually see problems. If you are unfamiliar with heat mapping take a look at crazyegg, Hotjar, Luckyorange and Optmizely to learn more. Decisions are always better when informed by factual data.
ProTip: Launch your High Performing Website pages first when doing a website refresh.
We have prepared a road map to help you with this process.
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