Websites need a reason to exist and in this article we’ll talk about what that might be. “Just because” can easily lead to unfocused websites that don’t pay their way.
We recently got asked to redesign an old website for a health product manufacturer. The site isn’t mobile friendly, and was so ancient some of the interactive parts no longer worked. It barely gets any traffic from search engines as the content is scarce and not updated regularly. While discussing the project with the client I asked them what the website was for. After thinking for a while, they didn’t have an answer aside from “we sell the product so we need a website”. This prompted an interesting conversation about why the site existed and whether to just take it offline!
Reasons to exist
Common reasons for websites are;
- Generate leads from paid or organic search traffic
- Selling items directly via ecommerce
- Being a resource for clients/customers
Sometimes a company’s website and social media will be a way of building trust and showing history to support a marketing campaign.
How this influences web design
The reason for your site existing will flow into the design process – what is the most important information to show, what is your call to action (for example contact us by email, or buy the product). Vagueness or too many options can easily confuse your visitors and even if they are interested, can lead to them clicking away without taking the actions you’d like. One of the first steps of our design process is “wireframing”, where together we work out the most important content on each page.
Earning their keep
It will also tie in to how success or return on investment will be measured. Just being there isn’t a good reason for a site to exist, and the money spent could easily be a dead cost. As well as the cost to design and build them, websites need hosting and maintenance. Investing in a good website with a focus can pay back many times what was invested and these are the kinds of project we want to work on!
We’ve talked about the need for your website to have a focus, shown some examples of what this might be, and mentioned why this is important for your web design.
Why does your website exist?