Top tips for planning a new construction website
Posted by Laura Garving
Have you recently looked at your company website and realised it doesn’t meet your needs? Does your website look outdated? Does it no longer function properly? Whatever the reason for a new website here are some tips to consider when planning it:
Establish its purpose and goals
What exactly do you want the new website to achieve for your business? Increased sales? A better understanding of your service? When thinking about the answer to this question, remember to consider what your company’s marketing and business strategy is. How can the new website support these? For example, if you’re a small architect practice, you may want your website to help convince potential clients that your practice has the experience and capability to deliver large scale projects.
Once you’ve established what you want the website to help you achieve, keep it at the forefront of your mind as you can easily get distracted throughout the process and lose sight of what exactly it is you want the website to do.
Who are your target audience groups?
This question is vital to the success of your website as it will help determine your content and user journeys. If you don’t know who you want to be targeting your website towards, then how do you know what information they need, what content to produce and which journeys to plan?
What can your current website tell you?
In order to improve the future you need to look at the past. Look at your Google analytics to see what it can tell you. Which pages have good bounce rates? Which content was the most popular? What devices did your users use to view your website? How long did users spend on your website and on specific pages? How did your users find your website?
Take a look at what your competitors are doing and saying. What do you think works well? What type of content do they have? Do their user journeys work? Do they use call to actions well? You’ll be surprised what you can learn from your competitors that can aid your new site.
Plan your user journeys
You want to guide your users through the website to the areas you want them to see and engage with so think about the journey. More often than not websites can be very stop/start as thought hasn’t been given to where the business wants the user to go next. For example, if a user is looking at a case study, where do you want them to go next? Don’t just plan journeys from the homepage either. Think about which pages a user may land on and where you want them to go from there.
Do some research if you’re not sure. Look at your current Google Analytics to track the current and previous journeys, ask your customers what they feel about the journeys on your current site and what improvements can be made.
Content, content, content
A website is only as good as its content. This is not to say you have to write all new content. Analyse what you have and decide if it meets the objectives of the new website – it may just need a quick edit. Take a look at the different types of content. What do your target audiences want to see – blogs, white papers, case studies?
Just remember any content produced needs to be informative, engaging and must meet the needs of your target audiences so you’ll need to make a considerable investment to get it right.
Technical features and functions
Having established the goals and type of content you want for the new site will help you determine some of the technical decisions needed. For example, do you want users to search case studies by a number of categories? Do you want users to subscribe to your blogs? Do you want users to complete a data entry form before being able to download an ebook? Do you want a live chat function? The list goes on.
You must also consider how you want to make changes to your website and how frequently – now and in the future – as this will impact the type of Content Management System needed.
What’s the point in creating a fantastic new website if nobody can find it? Investing in SEO is a must for any website. Before you start allocating budgets and writing a strategy, you need to determine the key search words and phrases you will need to employ in order for your business to appear on page 1 of Google. These need to be integrated into your website content and don’t underestimate the impact SEO can have on the design and functionality of a site.
In summary then, a new website for a construction or property business is not a five-minute task. It requires considerable thought, research, planning and investment. You need to dedicate time and resources to it if it is to be a success. Good luck!