Your goal should be simple and concise. It should be the discrete unit that represent “success”, if there is one.
- Market my new business
- Sell my online products and/or services
- Capture email signups
- Promote and/or organize events
- Showcase my portfolio
- House information about my organization
- Build my personal brand
As web designers, these simple phrases give us a lot of information. We can start making assumptions on how to proceed with the project. Then as we read the rest of your project scope, those assumptions get refined. When we have our initial consultation call, we can suggest ways to improve the scope of the project, if you’re open to it. The goal for us is to make you happy, and most people like knowing ways to get a better return on their investment.
Here’s a breakdown of the “assumptions” I was speaking about relating to each of the goals:
Marketing is a broad goal. It more tells us about what we’re not doing than what we are. While there are many questions that we’ll want to ask, regardless of which goal you choose, this one has the most questions.
That said, we can make assumptions about a few things. We’re assuming we aren’t directly selling anything through the website. You may be a service business, where the service is rendered in person – like a lawyer, financial advisor, or doctor. Or you may have a physical store that sells products that don’t make sense to be sold online – like a restaurant owner (I suppose we could call food a “product”) or manufacturer.
In the case of the service business, client education is often a focal point. Therefore the site either has, or will plan to have, dozens of blog posts. Another client education tactic is to have a more formal set of structured pages, sort of like Sixty’s Client Education Center you’re on right now.
In the case of the restaurant, there are typically three sub-goals – tell the brand story, prominently showcase the menu and restaurant hours, and get people to come eat food! The latter is fun to tackle with large, complementary imagery. Often times you’ll want to do an Open Table integration or the like. Finally embedding social media posts is often a tactic as well.
We know we’ll be implementing payment portals here. If you have products on your site, we’ll be looking at your scope to see how you’re considering everything from marketing the products (Google Ads, SEO, etc.) to fulfillment. While the marketing isn’t something we’ll directly interface with, the pages we’ll build together will have to combine your narrative from the marketing copy. Then, depending on how many products you have, we know we’ll be focusing on how to take people from the product list pages (pages with multiple products on them), to how the products are organized, to the product detail pages (pages with only one product on them), to how we’ll showcase special products on the rest of the site.
In the case of a service, it will be a slightly different layout and site structure and strategy. There typically needs to be more accompanying copy to market a service. When you sell a service, you need to explain what it is at a high level, how the service works when the buyer gets started, what the overall value is, then finally how to take the steps to get started. Everyone knows how to buy a physical product: click “Buy”, enter your credit card and address, then it arrives at your door! Services are much more nuanced. The flow to purchase a service is often unique.
For this type of site, we assume there will be a body of content going into detail about you/your business/organization/etc that viewers can get to know you with. Then depending on your organization, you may focus more or less on the events directly. In some cases, attendees will purchase tickets to the events. Sometimes these will be hosted on Squarespace, but often times Eventbrite is the tool-of-choice.
The question we’d start asking is “who are the people signing up for the events and how will you be promoting them outside of just this website”. Then we know how you’ll be linking to each of the events outside of the website. Depending on if people are hitting the event pages directly, we may want to take the strategy of focusing on having accompanying copy there to explain more your organization. If the viewers will land on your homepage first, the event pages can be more exclusively focused on what is happening at that day and time.
Sometimes the whole website could be centered around one event, like a conference. Unique to the conference’s case, as opposed to say, a meetup group, is that you have in-depth sponsorship pages, lists of each speaker, and then expensive ticket sales.
First, we know you’re an artist or someone where visuals are very important. This narrows down the layouts of sites we’d suggest significantly. From here, we’ll want to know about your target customer or client. In this case, we’ll be thinking about if subtle calls to action (prompts to get in contact with you) will be appropriate in locations. We’ll also think about how the narrative of your copy (designer-speak for text on the page) and visuals guide your site visitors to want to reach out.
If you’re not trying to be hired immediately, then calls to action clearly aren’t important. In some cases if you’re really in high demand, we may suggest not even having a call to action (CTA) or a way to get in contact! Believe it or not, some people do this – particularly those who are in very high demand! In this case, the site is basically a fall back for when you want to get hired. At that point, you can just add your email and/or a simple contact page and you’re golden!
House information about my organization
The first question is “How long has your organization been around?” For new organizations, we’re usually building a shell. Potentially an events page. Probably a blog. Then of course planning content around what your organization is all about, when it was founded and why, who is involved.
The unique aspect about organizations is that depending on the type of organization, some of the sections are much longer than others. For example, with associations where people meet in person, the events sections are typically very extensive, as most things are centered around coordinating people for events!
With this goal, 90% of the time, content is king. Typically the site is centered around telling your story and showcasing what you’ve done. This is everything from news features, video content, audio content, and (most frequently) a blog. We’ll also want to know who your audience is and what is the most important to show them first.
Depending on how established your brand already is, and the content that you already have, we can get fancy with third party integrations like Embedly. Then, we’ll probably want to brainstorm on how to cultivate the engagement of your audience. This is where strategies to capture email addresses, and integrate newsletters into mix in the future could come into play.