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by Kelly Baker
3 min read
The Importance of a Website Discovery Phase
Author: Kelly Baker
Posted in Websites 3 weeks ago
For a lot of businesses, especially those that are service based, their website will be their biggest marketing investment. As with all business investments you will expect to see a good return on the money you have spent. This may be realised in a number of ways including everything from capturing emails, receiving contact forms or making direct sales.
Yet many businesses will undertake this major investment with little in the way of research beforehand, simply asking their developer to produce a website that meets certain needs. It is only further down the road that these businesses realise the importance of undertaking a discovery phase that would have highlighted a number of key areas. These would have included planning the project, understanding competitor positions, aligning goals with wants, needs and realities and avoiding unneeded costs. In this article we cover off each of these aspects to help you understand the importance of a website discovery phase.
Undertaking a discovery phase will allow you to understand and define key elements that will make up the project plan.
During the discovery process, time should be taken to consider your businesses marketing goals and how your website may be able to contribute to achieving them. For example, one of your goals may be to increase the size of your mailing list so that you can leverage it to the benefit of your business. Your website is a powerful tool to help you do this, so an objective of the site can be aligned with this.
Much of what will make up your website will be the brand assets you currently own or are plan on developing, such as technical specifications or branded content. During the research phase of the project you will be able to list those assets and ensure that they are all present and up-to-date ready for inclusion on the site.
By undertaking audience research you will be able to plan aspects of the website such as the tone of voice and layout. Many businesses assume that all their customers will use their website, however in many cases only a certain segment actually will. Assessing who will be using your site will let you personalise and gear it more precisely to their wants and needs and will therefore boost the websites strength in helping you achieve your marketing goals.
This may seem fairly fundamental, yet many businesses fail to properly plan what information and functions their website will contain. By undertaking the relevant research, you will be able to pre-plan the structure of your site and avoid potential costly issues further down the line.
In business mistakes cost money. There is no way to avoid them completely, but by undertaking a thorough website discovery phrase you will be able to mitigate much of the risk associated with building your site. These costs commonly occur due to not undertaking many of the elements we have highlighted above, having to redesign or edit large sections of the site due to discoveries found too late.
Although many will flinch at the idea of spending time on the discovery phase, the likelihood is that it will save you a large amount of time and money further down the line.
You wouldn’t launch a new product or service without looking at what your competitors are offering and expect it to be a success. Launching your website is just the same, by studying what your competitors are doing you can ensure you aren’t launching an ‘inferior product’. For example, if your competitor has a slick quotation tool on their website, you should ask yourself whether you would you benefit from the same thing. Equally you can learn from competitors failures, check what hasn’t worked and make sure you don’t do anything similar.
We have taken a detailed look at why as a business undertaking a discovery phase is an important part of building your new website. Not only will this process allow you to plan the project better, but it will mitigate the risks associated with major potential costs further down the road. Finally, doing this will allow you to ensure that your website is relative and current within the market.
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