When launching a new business, building a well-designed website should be at the top of your list. Yet according to one report, almost half of SMEs still don’t have their own website.
Two of the biggest challenges in building a website for a new or existing business are time and money. Simply put, entrepreneurs don’t have the time to sit down with a developer and thrash out every page and piece of content, nor do they have thousands of pounds to splash on an all-bells, all-whistles design. As a result, many abandon the idea of a site altogether.
But there is a different approach to consider: iterative web design. That is, building a website as soon as you can, and making tweaks, changes, and developments as your organisation evolves and grows. In the world of digital marketing, there’s no such thing as “done” – below, we’ve put together some of the reasons why you should consider adopting this approach.
Take time to get to know your audience
Whether you’re building a website for a startup or an existing organisation, the chances are that you don’t know exactly what your customers will want from day one. An ecommerce fashion brand might launch with five product categories and streamline as one takes off, and a B2B law firm could build an enterprise web app that allows their clients to log in and track cases.
Rather than spending months pondering what should and should not be on your website from day one, you can build a basic, functional website and add to it as your audience dictates the products, services, and website features that matter to them the most.
It’s all too common for entrepreneurs to have an idea in their head about what a customer wants, only to find that they were off the mark. Iterative web design allows you to take small steps without investing thousands of pounds and hundreds of man-hours in development. The truth is, understanding what your website or app should look like or include takes time and involves some trial and error – consider development as an ongoing process instead.
Development sprints can streamline the process
Though having a web designer at your beck and call might sound ideal, the chances are that you do not want to hire a developer full-time, or pay for endless tweaks and changes week to week. Iterative web design doesn’t have to involve overnight changes – you could instead consider sprints, making a list of the changes and additions you want to add to your pages, and then pay a developer for those to be made in one sitting.
This is not only cost effective but it allows you to depend on the data – analytics can be reviewed to see what pages your customers are interacting with, common drop-off points, and average length on your pages. You can use these findings to better optimise your website and change your sales funnels.
The internet doesn’t stop
It was once the case that you’d pay for a web designer to create a hub for your business on the web, and leave it for five years before redesigning it. Nowadays, consumers interact with brands more than ever online, and see websites as virtual shopfronts, whether or not they offer products for sale via an ecommerce platform. Treating web design as an ongoing task that needs regular reviews and changes allows you to keep your online presence fresh and engaging, reacting not only to changing consumer demands but industry developments, too.
For example, you might launch an interior design ecommerce website, and want to find a new way to stand out from the crowd. In one of your design ‘sprints,’ you could introduce Pinterest integration so customers can share their pictures of your products with potential customers. You could even introduce virtual reality so that shoppers see your furniture in their homes – iterative design means this can be done without starting from the ground up.
Think about interactive developments and content
Web design doesn’t end when your designer hits publish. Modern websites should be highly interactive and easy to edit without needing to swallow a user manual on PHP or HTML. By building a site on a content management system, your team will be able to keep your brand relevant and fresh every day of the year, whether you’re celebrating Christmas or reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as a blog where you can create engaging, relevant content for your readers, you should consider social media feed integration so your latest Instagram posts appear on your homepage. What’s more, features like knowledge bases allow you to respond to customers’ queries and build a bank of responses that will save time and money.