Getting started on a new web project is always a difficult task, that is, unless you have a few crucial elements in place. This is a guide to helping you decide what kind of website you’ll need and the type of application(s) you’ll need on the back end to make it function the way you hope it will. Read on if you’re unsure of where to start with your project.
Determine the Functionality First
A good way to figure out what you’ll need your website to do is to work backwards from a sale or a conversion. Or maybe you’re trying to get people to become users or contributors to your website. Any insight you can offer yourself here will help you in communicating this with whoever you choose to do your development work. Get out a pad and pen or your tablet and whiteboard out the visitor path from conversion backwards. What action did the user take right before becoming a lead or client? What was the call to action? What do they get in return, an email confirmation? A receipt? This exercise will help you in determining the step previous to this one.
Before they took that last action, what brought them there? Were there clear signals on your landing page that targeted that persona? Who is that person, a customer? A CEO? This question will help you to determine the buyer’s personas that you’ll be targeting from your landing page.
Determine the Reason People Visit your Site
What is it that has convinced someone to take the action above? Were they enticed by a free offer? Or were they sold on a product or service? This is crucial to the development of your application. Getting this right is crucial because it is where technology and sales or copy writing are “married.” It’s always a marketer’s dream to have these two become seamless, and “one.” But that’s not always the case. There is often a miscommunication between the developers and the marketing department. One is laser focused on getting the website to work and function properly. The other is focused on making sure the right messaging comes across in order to drive conversions. Include these pieces on your whiteboard as you continue the brainstorm.
Do you need an ecommerce site? Are you integrating shopping carts, order processing and integration with local or national fulfillment? Or are you delivering a digital good?
Decide what Functions your Website Applications will Need to Accomplish
Are your visitors aware that they’re inside a programmed environment? Do they even care? Perhaps they have landed on your site because of the application you are using or selling. This is always the case, especially for game creators and mobile app creators and marketers. It’s often the application itself that is being sold or offered. When this is the case, which I assume is the case with your website or you wouldn’t be reading this, then here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Your apps will need to be fully ready with the proper user experience as well as the back end functionality and database that can support the expected number of users. Consider the recent release of Pokemon Go. New users flooded the databases and caused crashes during the first few weeks, and to my knowledge, this is still happening. To prevent this, and to prevent angry customers, you’ll have to do all the math before deciding on the type of hosting you’ll need to support the new users. There are several databases you can shop for but I won’t get into that at this time.
Decide if you’ll Need a Mobile Application Built for your Website
There are certain verticals that will always have more desktop users, now you’ll need to learn which devices your target audience is likely to use. Even in markets that have a lot of desktop users, there’s always going to be a need for a mobile app to ensure you capture the largest audience possible. In fact, the rate of mobile users across the world is growing year over year. Some predict that the large majority of users of the internet will happen on mobile devices. There are a host of legacy mobile application development companies that have the experience needed to get you in front of a broader and more tech-savvy market.
Once you’ve got a good understanding of what it is you want, then you’re probably ready to get started with sending out RFP’s to companies. This exercise will help you mitigate your down-time in post-production change orders. The last thing you want is to pay someone to do something, then pay them to undo it and redo something different. If you really think through everything properly, this shouldn’t happen to you.
I hope this was super helpful to you! If you have further questions or would like to get started on a project, contact me! -Traci