If you are reading this post I suspect you want clear, distinctive messaging on your website. Content that positions your company as the go-to experts in your field, details your firm’s story, and brings in customers.
Well, when it comes to website design for B2B companies, the very first step in this process is often about taking a step back.
What do I mean by “taking a step back?”
To better illustrate, let’s use Sara as an example. Sara is Marketing Director for a large CPA firm and she wants to create a new website for her company. She realizes the site is in dire need of a refresh because most competitors sites, well, look better than her firm’s site.
Want to guess what her first thought is? To find a design firm or web development company and move right into design and development. Things like client and industry research, brand positioning, and copywriting are afterthoughts. The focus is on a slick new site.
This happens more often than not and I get it. A website is visual and when you look at competitor sites you often focus on the overall design.
So, I’m here to tell you that it is far more important to focus on other areas before you even consider a new website design.
If you are now planning on redesigning your company’s website, read the following. And, if you are bypassing any of these steps, you need to stop, refocus, and start anew.
4 Massively Important Steps to Take Before Redesigning Your Website
1. Write a paragraph that details, exactly how you want people to see your brand.
Look at your company’s website and answer these questions…
Would someone viewing your website understand what you do and why you do it? Does it inspire action? Could they define what you provide in a few words?
Is it clear who you are talking to? What you will do for them? And what their next step should be?
If not, your brand needs clarity.
Read this post about correctly branding your business and come back.
Have you worked on a positioning statement? If you haven’t, it is time. This step is crucial because this little statement becomes the bedrock for your marketing materials, PR, design efforts, etc.
You might have a mission statement. That’s great, but this is NOT a mission statement. It’s a positioning statement—a succinct description of your ideal customer combined with an attention-getting picture of how you want this ideal customer to see your brand.
But it’s an internal tool. A guidepost for all of your marketing going forward. Everything you do, website included, should align with this statement. It’s a “filter” everything marketing-related runs through. And it helps your brand maintain focus and clarity.
So if you feel you need a website redesign, first step back and think about how you are positioning your business. Here is some more advice on how to brand your company.
2. Now start crafting a website design / copy direction based on this statement.
Go back to your statement and pay particular attention to your ideal customer.
Who is your ideal customer? What problem are you solving for them? Why should they work with you? If you’ve taken the time to go through some positioning work this should be a cakewalk.
Now, armed with your statement, start thinking about copy and design. Copy should align and support your positioning. What tone are you looking for in your copywriting? What type of marketing copy will appeal to your ideal customer? Is telling your company’s story in the form of blog posts something you think you should do?
What about design? Study your positioning (how you want your target market to see your brand). Is there a particular visual style—a combination of color, typography, and images—that you think will resonate with your ideal client?
What about other marketing down the road? Think about this stuff now. How will copy and design apply to marketing materials six months from now?
The upfront positioning work will make this much easier.
3. Plan the structure of your website.
With the groundwork you’ve developed in steps 1 and 2, it’s now time to map it out.
Only after completing steps 1 and 2 should you go to my post: How Much Does Website Design Cost? That post will provide you with the outline you need to plan and design a new website including site structure, content, photography and/or illustration, functionality, and other media like blogging and social media.
Once you have a website redesign plan in place, then it’s time to…
4. Pick up the phone and call in a professional.
I’ve included this as the final step because it’s a very important one. I mean, you wouldn’t take your car to any auto mechanic on the block, right?
Steps 1, 2, and 3 are fairly straightforward. They will not only save you time, money and frustration. You’ll also have a detailed plan for when you do bring in a professional.
Before you call in a pro, do the following:
Take the results of steps 1-3 and write out a creative brief.
That’s it. If you want to redesign your company’s website, work to map out a plan of your own. Then pick up the phone and call in a pro.
Interested in learning more about my branding process? Sign up for my email list below.