Too often, companies are building their websites for here and now. The main and only focus is “what we need to achieve now with our website” and “how fast the website can be up to start working toward that goal.”
Building a website with that mindset, though, doesn’t consider the future of your web presence, its sustainability and how it will need to keep up with the constant advancements in technology. You’ll likely be left in the here and now with a stale, stagnant website prone to security threats.
Plan for your website’s future
We all want our website to age well. Nobody wants a website that is stuck years beyond competitors. Taking a proactive stance when designing and developing your website can help position you at the forefront of the competitive landscape now and into the future.
Take your health as an example. You can take preventive measures for disease prevention as opposed to disease treatment. It requires thinking ahead and taking certain actions now to avoid occurrence of a disease.
The same applies (or should) for your web presence. Instead of preventing a disease, you’re preventing the slow demise of your website with certain actions.
Define current goals and objectives
Yes, we are still talking about planning for the future but the here and now is a solid foundation to build upon. This first part, defining current goals and objectives, is simple. When you’re ready to redesign or build a new website you have a punch list of what you need to achieve ready to rattle off. It’s etched into your brain.
If you’re a civil engineering company recruiting top talent, you might be aiming to attract and recruit employment candidates. Maybe you’re selling a product and you need to increase revenue from online sales. If you’re part of the IT team, you might need to improve the security and performance of your website. Or if you’re a marketer you’ll need to attract prospects to your website and generate leads from it.
These can be compiled from key stakeholders across your company to define your current goals and objectives.
But what about future goals and objectives? Glad you asked!
Consider future goals and objectives
A starting point to develop future goals and objectives could be your company’s growth strategy. Your website should ultimately support the overarching goals of the business so it makes sense to be aware of any growth strategy in place.
If you’re not privy to this information, ask. You’ll want to understand any plans for market penetration and expansion, product expansion, diversification or acquisition. If you know what’s on the horizon, you can build a website for the current state of the company as well as the anticipated, future position within the market.
Anticipate required functionality
Technology is changing and evolving with every blink of our eyes. The website you launch at the end of your redesign project will not be the end all be all. From a management perspective, there might be functionality that needs to be included as a Phase 2 or 3. How might you might use your website differently?
Are you planning to step up your content marketing efforts? You might not have that content developed for launch though, so it wouldn’t make sense to have a resource library with robust filtering options or CTAs for relevant content that doesn’t exist quite yet. But you can build your website with the resource library and an option to include CTAs in mind.
Are you anticipating a shift in 3rd party service providers? That’s helpful to know so you can build your site with those integrations in mind.
Always be thinking ahead about how you envision your site evolving and improving in the future and how that affects how your team might manage it.
Prepare for a shift in user behavior
The constantly changing technology also affects how people will use your website. Sites like Apple and Amazon evolve through an iterative process to maintain the user experience consumers know and like.
How might visitors use your website differently in the future?
One example is banner blindness. As consumers, we’ve all experienced it: a phenomenon that occurs when we consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information.
In fact, a study by Infolinks showed that 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. (Source: Neil Patel). We’ve witness the result of the banner blindness epidemic with the shift away from rotating image carousels.
Tracking user behavior for your site specifically can be done in Google Analytics. It will help you notice trends, prepare for the shift and adjust your web experience to meet the user expectations. Staying up to date with current web design trends, studies and reports can also help you stay ahead of the curve.
Create a website that grows with you
Being stuck with a website that needs to catch up with the competition is a position nobody wants to find themselves in. Maybe you inherited it or maybe the first time around it was all about the here and now.
Either way, hopefully this time around you can practice a preventive, forward-thinking approach.
If you’re not sure where to start or how to get there, we’d love to discuss how we can help.