In an era of the internet where it feels like everyone offers a “plug-and-play” website creation tool, it can be easy to overlook the importance of a web design strategy and the critical impact your website can have on the growth and health of your organization. Where once websites were one-page billboards that advertised a company’s existence, now users and consumers expect a website to be a functional, multi-layered tool that answers their questions and gets them where they need to go. But how, with everything else you’re juggling in your role, do you prioritize website strategy, understanding your user, and analyzing data to make informed suggestions? That’s where a website discovery comes in.
What is a Website Discovery?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: a Website Discovery is a “branded” Engenius term. When we use it, we’re referring to the process by which we help companies review their online presence, outline potential opportunities, and suggest web design strategies that help them see success with their users and achieve their business goals. It’s a deep dive, if you will, into your organization’s online health and well-being by a party that has expertise in that area.
Why is a Website Discovery worth it?
One statement: creating a strategy to maximize your ROI. Your website is a 24/7 sales rep that showcases who you are to the audiences you’re hoping to reach. More than that, it can be an incredibly helpful tool that connects to an online employee portal, or your customer service chat, or a donation or payment processing platform, or any number of other resources. A Website Discovery accomplishes three main goals.
First, a Website Discovery makes you ask the big questions about your organization’s past, present, and future.
In a thorough discovery, you’ll want to consider:
- What is important to your business now? Growth? Maintaining current revenue? Adding a product or service?
- Do you want to appeal to new clients or grow the current spend and referral potential of current clients?
- Do you want to hire more staff or do you simply want to retain your existing personnel?
- What matters most to your audience?
- What’s your competitive advantage?
All of these questions, and more, inform the strategy behind your website. Your answers feed into the overarching question your agency or freelance partner should be asking: how your website can support and further your organizational goals.
The second goal of a Website Discovery is to connect you with an outside person or group trained to help you see the big picture more clearly.
Let’s look at an example. If you’re planning an expensive trip to Europe, Asia, or some other exotic destination, you can do it yourself OR you can go work with a travel agency. While DIY has merit, a travel agent relies on connections, experience, and in-depth knowledge of where you’re going to formulate a plan that fits your unique goals. You might have a lovely trip to Italy that you planned…but are you sure you’ll know about the cutest bed & breakfast, best tour group, or local-legend restaurant? Probably not, but an expert might be able to point you in the right direction and tailor a trip specifically for your interests. Whether working with a travel agent or working with a web design freelancer or agency, having an outside group take a fresh look at your situation is a win.
Third, a Website Discovery provides you with data-backed insights into your current website and your desired users.
The internet is FULL of data, but too much data can be overwhelming. A formal Website Discovery allows trained experts to do the hard work for you. Instead of sifting through mountains of numbers, insights, and projections to come up with a potentially murky conclusion, a discovery process lets trained experts pull the stats relevant to their field and present them back to you in a helpful, digestible way. Numbers tell a story, but not everyone has the time to write or read the book. Letting someone else do the digging may be one of the most rewarding things you could do for your information.
What should I bring to the table for the Website Discovery process?
You! Your organization is unique. Your goals and dreams, clients, and ideal users are unique. You should enter the Website Discovery process with a general idea of your goals and what’s important to you personally and your organization professionally. A good Website Discovery partner, like a good consultant, should ask the right questions to help you unpack your business and get to the heart of what’s important.
What should I look for with a Website Discovery partner?
Honesty, good communication, and the desire to help your organization succeed. The point of a Website Discovery is to help you understand the potential of your website to be an irreplaceable tool for your business. In order to achieve that, however, you may need the support of a web design partner that has your best interests at heart. Read through reviews and case studies of anyone you’re considering, but beyond that, ask them a few hard questions and see how they respond. A good partner should be able to tell you when they are a good fit…and when they aren’t.
Pro-tip: ask them the last time they turned away a lead that wasn’t a good fit. How they handled that situation might give you a good idea as to what they value in a client relationship!
A Website Discovery is a fantastic way to gain a deeper understanding of the web design world, your business objectives online, and the best, most strategic way to achieve those objectives. It’s also a great opportunity to gain industry insight from people who know their stuff and want to help your organization succeed. In the end, we all want a better internet experience, and good websites and smart digital marketing are a part of that bigger picture.