This seems like such a huge question to answer, doesn’t it? It means considering budget. It means considering time. It means searching out talent.
So. Many. Factors.
At the end of it all, it might seem really tempting to just buy that template or let your facebook group decide for you.
The reason this question is so exhausting is because you first need the answers to a set of other questions. Once you have those answers, you will know who should be building your website.
If you want to know if you should buy a template, hire a designer, or even a small business agency to build it, here are the 3 steps you need to follow.
Step 1: Know your ideal customer
I’m not talking about demographics such as where they live, and what their age is, that’s for marketing. I’m talking about really knowing your ideal customer.
This means understanding things such as what problem are they trying to solve? What brought them to your website in the first place? What have they tried already? Why didn’t it work?
On the flip side of knowing your ideal customer’s pain points, you also need to know what would make them happy. What is their desired outcome? What is the ultimate solution they are looking to achieve?
Finally, consider the journey they are taking while using your website. Are they on their phone? Desktop? A combination of both?
You can start to see how answers to questions like these are going to help you figure out what you need in your website.
Step 2: Come up with a list of things your website needs to have based on the answers from Step 1.
For example, you discover that your ideal customers have tried several products already that didn’t work for them. They probably are going to be very cautious about making another purchase. In this case, your website is going to need to convince them that your product has been tried and tested.
Did you discover that your ideal customers are all asking the same questions? In this case, you know that you need a place on the website to answer those questions.
Are your ideal customers primarily using their phones to visit your website? Then you know that your website needs to be fast loading and easy to navigate.
So far, the answers to Step 1 have allowed you to come up with the list of things your website needs to do. You can now take that list and use it to understand what elements your website will need.
Step 3: Write down what elements your website needs (or doesn’t need) based off of the list you created in Step 2.
Do your visitors have specific questions? Your website needs an F.A.Q. in order to answer them.
Are your visitors a little leary to purchase? Your website needs testimonials to gain their trust and relieve their doubts.
Brand new website and don’t have a lot of testimonials yet? Watch 4 Simple Ways to Build Trust with a New Website.
Are your visitors browsing your website with their phones? Your website needs to load very fast. That means it doesn’t need any animations that would otherwise slow it down.
By the end of Step 3, you will have all the information you need to know who can build your website.
A template may contain all the elements that you need. It may also not have everything you need but there is a plugin for what you do need and it’s in your budget. You may, in this case, decide to build it yourself using the template as a starting point.
What if your website needs a number of plugins to complete your list? This might get expensive. In this case you may decide to look into a designer to do it for you.
Whatever your end decision may be, you know that it will be an informed one that will allow you to pick the right template or have the right conversation with a designer.
Let’s look at an example of how knowing your ideal customer can lead to a website that works.
This is Jared.com. They sell jewelry and their specialty is wedding rings. Their homepage immediately gives the choice to start shopping for mens or women's bands.
They also know that their ideal customers already have an idea of the type of ring they want. That’s hard to search for, and their website needed to make this easy. As a solution, the website has a visual search using an uploaded photo.
Finally, their product page is filled with ways to meet their ideal customers' needs.
They know that an ideal customer concern is what will it look like on their hand. They also know that the website needs to make it easy for customers to see the details as if they were in an actual store.
The product page offers a way to “turn” the ring so it can be looked at. It also has a “Will It Fit?” feature so they can see what a ring looks like on the hand.
The product page also gives payment options right underneath the price to ease sticker shock. A protection plan is offered as an easy add-on. The shopper can see when they will receive the ring if they buy it. They can save the ring to a wish list so they can continue to shop and compare. They can even have an immediate virtual consultation with a jewelry expert.
Every concern and desire of the ideal customer is met and creates a delightful experience for them.
By understanding your ideal customer you can understand what your website needs. By understanding what your website needs you can make the informed decision on who should be building your website.