Web design tools graphics. Illustration.Building a website is exciting- well at least for some. For many it can be overwhelming. Partnering with a professional that will lead you through the process will help a great deal as does knowing how to avoid some of these common mistakes. This blog series will map out four of the most common mistakes or misperceptions of building and launching a website.

Mistake One: Failure to Plan

Every great website starts with a great plan. We’ve seen many companies jump right into building a website without thoroughly thinking through what they want the website to do and how it will give them the best advantage of a sale.

Successful websites require planning before the building of the website has even begun. Here’s some thought-provoking questions to help you get started on the plan for your new website.

What do you want your website to do?

Think about what exactly you want your website to do. Every great website is designed to get the consumer to do something. This could be signing up for a newsletter, reading an article, clicking to call, becoming a member, scheduling an appointment, filling out an application, you get the idea.

It seems simple, but this should take some serious thought and planning. There is a process to how customers use your business. As a business owner, you can’t just say you want your website to, “sell more stuff”. Of course, when you boil it all down, you do want to sell more stuff and that’s okay, but, in comparison, Boeing wants to sell more stuff too. Boeing wants to sell more passenger planes, but on their website, they don’t have any “Buy It Now” buttons, PayPal links or VISA portals. What you do see are links for consumers to click on to learn about the company and their planes and we’ll touch on that in a minute.

How do people buy your products or services?

Where is your website in relation to how and when people buy your product or service? Is your website at the top of the purchasing funnel, being used for research? Is it at the bottom of the funnel, used as the point of purchase? Or is it somewhere in between?

How long is your sales cycle?

If you sell pizza, your sales cycle is very short. When a customer goes on to a pizza website, they’ll see that the website is all about what the specials are, what they ordered last time and the “add on ‘this’ or ‘that’ for $1 more”. If the customer leaves the site without buying something, your sale is lost.

If you are Boeing, your sales cycle is very long. Boeing’s website is all about starting a relationship. A customer visits this website to learn more about the aircrafts, find performance statistics, see company news, etc. Nothing is ever sold on the website except selling the company’s principles, history, and commitment to what they offer.

(Although, buy a 747 and add on a Lear Jet for $1 might actually work.)

Now, think about your business. Consider the purchasing funnel for your product or service and think about your sales cycle. Let’s pretend your new site is already built, and a qualified customer goes to your site. If that person only does one thing, and that one thing gives you the best advantage of a sale, what is it?

Now reverse engineer that result and build a road map to determine how we are going to get them to that result.

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