Finding Inspiration for New Website Ideas

Are you thinking about changing your web site but don’t know where to start?

Many businesses make notable changes to their sites every 2-3 years. However, the process of generating ideas has proven more laborious than some people anticipated.

By employing simple planning methods the idea generation process can become a lot more productive and rewarding.

The suggestions below will act as a guide to help you achieve great results.

Generating ideas
Whether you intend to make small changes or significant changes you need to start at the same place. You need to generate ideas.

The benefits to your business from any web site changes will be far greater if you use the results of an idea gathering process to drive the changes.

Generating ideas can be easier than you think. You will often find a ready source of inspiration from your customers and staff.

Do you keep records of constructive customer feedback? If not, start keeping track of what your customers say about your web site. That can be a great starting point. The ideas may range from simple changes in wording, changes to navigation to suggestions for new sections on your site.

You can also actively seek customer feedback by engaging your customers in dialogues about what they want from your site. This process may be as simple as asking your recent customers for feedback or you may like to conduct a survey of your customers.

In your survey you may include questions relating to what the customer liked, what they found confusing or difficult and ask for suggestions as to what would have made their experience easier, faster and more enjoyable.

You may also like to extend your survey to customers who have not used your services for some time and to people who chose not to use your services. (A telephone survey of these people may be more prudent so as to avoid encountering problems with the new anti-spam legislation.)

You should include your staff in this process too.

Your staff will have a good knowledge of any problems your customers have experienced with your site and customers’ general feedback.

Staff will also have their own ideas for improvements. By involving staff you will give them a sense of ownership of the ideas and make them feel valued within the business.

Other sources of inspiration include your competitors and businesses in similar industries. You should not copy exactly what your competitors are doing, though you may generate ideas from various sites and incorporate those ideas into your own site.

If you are considering changing the navigation system on your web site also look at some of the large consumer web sites. You can often gain valuable insights by reviewing the navigation concepts of the big players. The sites that attract thousands of visitors need to have easy to use navigation to cater for all types of consumers.

Putting a plan together
Once you have conducted the idea generation process, analyse your customer and staff feedback together with your research into competitors and other web sites.

Use that information to compile a wish list – a list of all of the ideas and features that you would ultimately like to incorporate in your site. You should include even the potentially outrageous and expensive ideas in your list at this stage.

By compiling a wish list you can accumulate ideas over time. So even if you are not ready to re-develop your site yet, by starting your wish list now, it will place you in good stead when the time comes to plan the re-development.

You should also periodically review your wish list. You can look at the items that you’ve dreamed about in the past, but haven’t been able to implement. You may find that what was impractical or too expensive to incorporate a year or two ago is now within reach.

You can then assess what you can do now, and what you will embark on in the future.

It is often a good idea to tackle the project in stages. By doing so you will spread the work load for you, your staff and your web development team over a longer period. The development costs will then also be apportioned over a longer period.

So get started today! Start generating your ideas and engaging customer feedback before developing a blue print for future implementation.

 

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Sharon Wild writes ecommerce articles for Qld Business Review, she is also Strategy & Marketing Director of e-JAZ.com.au

Sharon Wild
Strategy & Marketing Director of e-JAZ, Sharon has been involved in the e-commerce community for several years. She successfully manages Australia's largest online jewellery store, Gillett's Jewellers.

Sharon can be contacted via email on sharon@e-jaz.com.au