A well-functioning website can greatly influence the success of a business. Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen extraordinary advancements in the technology of web development. For most businesses, a strong online presence is essential in our digitally-driven world. Having a well-functioning website allows businesses to showcase and sell their products and services remotely while allowing them to target new customers and clients with ads and SEO.
But what happens when a company’s website is no longer serving them or their customers? Oftentimes, clients will come to us frustrated with their existing websites, wanting a new one built from scratch. In these situations, it’s important to lay the foundation and plan properly to allow the site to build up domain authority, evolve, and, more importantly, meet the business’ goals.
In this article, we’ll highlight the most important questions to ask yourself when building a new website in 2022. With this up-to-date guide, you can feel confident in the planning and execution of your website build.
Why should I build a new website?
Before undertaking the process of designing an entirely new website, it is crucial to first clearly define your goals and the metrics you plan to measure. When you ask yourself “why do you want to build a new website?” you can start to understand the key factors that will determine the goals for your new site. Some of the goals you might set for your website could be: increase traffic, boost sales, or improve lead generation.
It is important to prioritize these goals right from the start so you can plan out your data capture strategy and implement it at the beginning. Once you have determined your goals, you can start to think about what metrics you’ll need to measure to track progress and how to best implement those metrics through data collection across your site in sales forms or calls to action. By thinking through these components first, you can ensure that the rest of the design can account for your goals and priorities at the forefront.
Who am I building this website for?
The second consideration is to make an effort to thoroughly understand your audience. Knowing who your customers are on a behavioural level will help you determine what they want to achieve, making it easier to cater to their needs through design and messaging. This includes studying the behaviours and patterns of your target users. This may include researching related common search queries, doing keyword research, scanning your competition, and looking at consumer trend reports. Once you can get into the mind of your customers and think about what they need as well as how they go about searching for solutions, you can better serve them through thoughtful and intelligent design.
What kind of content do I want to host on my website?
Once you have a solid understanding of your website’s intended user, you can begin to create the basic framework for your site’s content stimulus. The content stimulus refers to the type of information and content you will want to make available to your website's users.
Based on the previous two steps, you can determine what information and content you will need to provide for your website users for them to meet their goals while also meeting yours. This content may include the following:
Calls to action
All of these elements should thoughtfully reflect your goals and the user needs that you’ve defined. From there, you can build the structure of how each piece of content will be included and on what page, as well as the pathways you’ll need to create to help your user navigate towards the desired outcome.
What is the experience I want my audience to have on my website?
After defining what elements of content are going to be required, the process of designing your user’s experience can begin. This is where it is important to think about your brand’s message and how it ties into the way you want to leave people feeling after experiencing your site.
It is important to approach this step from an emotional point of view as it plays a large role in helping you determine what tools to use to help design the user experience. Some of these tools include Figma, FlowMapp, and Sketch. Working with a UX/UI designer that understands your goals can be crucial during the crafting of your user’s experience.
The user experience should be easy to navigate and flow well from page to page. For example, if your goal is to generate more sales, it should be easy for a user to navigate from homepage to product page to checkout without friction. A well-designed website makes it easy for users to get what they came for, whether it's finding a specific piece of information or purchasing a product.
What platform should I build my website on?
The last consideration to make before beginning the development of your site is choosing to build on the right platform for your needs. There are dozens of options to choose from when it comes to finding the right platform for your site so familiarizing yourself with the features of each can help you make an informed decision based on your site’s needs.
For example, if you intend to include a large amount of video content on your site, you’ll want to ensure that the platform you decide to build on can display videos nicely while also making it easy for you to add, swap, or delete that content on your own, without needing to go through a developer.
Additionally, some platforms offer more complex features in a sophisticated CMS (content management system than others, which may be a consideration to make if elements of your site require complex capabilities to function.
Below, we’ve summarized some of the most popular current web platforms for you to consider:
Ideal for: professionals, small businesses, small-scale ecommerce sites
- easy to use and add/edit content
- plenty of stylish design templates
- Ecommerce plan
- Limited third-party service integrations
- only allows for Stripe, Apple Pay, and PayPal for payment processing
Ideal for: professionals, displaying portfolios and visuals, small businesses
- Fully hosted (you don’t have to pay for hosting)
- Hundreds of fully-editable templates
- Dozens of free and paid apps
- Offers free plan to test drive
- Free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) with every Wix plan
- Some of the lower priced plans mean your site will display Wix ads
- Migrating content from Wix to another platform is difficult and complicated
Ideal for: ecommerce shops
- all-in-one fully hosted solution (software management, updates & backups are all done for you)
- Hundreds of designs to choose from, without the need for coding
- Integrated payment system that can integrate with third-party processing systems
- Full inventory management with unlimited products
- Offers insightful statistics about your shop
- Marketing solutions
- Can be integrated with other platforms like Wordpress to be used as an ecommerce function on other platforms
- Higher pricing than other platforms
- Hard to migrate content and inventory to other platforms
Ideal for: any type of website
- Free & open source
- Customizeable, complete control over aspects
- Ecommerce, forum, social network, membership and more capabilities
- Thousands of themes to choose from
- Drag & drop page builder capabilities
- Thousands of plug-ins
- Comes with SEO tools
- Potential learning curve for new users
- Updates and backups must be regularly managed
Ideal for: marketers and small business owners
- Combines drag & drop page building with marketing automation & CRM
- Simple and quick to use
- Conversion optimized site templates
- Offers adaptive testing
- Features like SEO, blogging, live chat & email marketing
- Optimal for landing pages and simple business websites
Taking an agile approach
Whenever we approach any website development project, we see it as an iterative process. We understand that it should never be in its final form, instead, we see it as something to be built upon and edited as necessary. Businesses change and evolve constantly, so why shouldn’t their websites?
We follow the principles of Agile, in which we work by perfecting small components and building up instead of large, onerous tasks. This allows us to be nimble and malleable where we need to be and lets us make changes to any project component on a regular basis.
Building a new website from scratch can be quite an undertaking. We usually advise our clients to make regular updates to their existing sites instead of tearing the whole site down and starting new.
On the other hand, making the right considerations before starting a new web design project will make the process smoother and more manageable to make updates and changes in the future.
Carefully planning out your goals and metrics, understanding your audience, designing your content structure, crafting the user experience, and choosing the right platform will help you manage your site and the content that lives on it for years to come.