How to Conduct an Effective Market Research for Website Design

How to Conduct an Effective Market Research for Website Design

Market Research and Website Design seem to be an unlikely combination for a topical discussion or article. But that is indeed what we will discuss here.

First thing first, we need to know, why Market Research is needed in Website Design. This can be figured out by essentially asking a few questions, regarding the parameters based on which a website is designed.

The questions are many; but a few important questions stand out, that can help conduct a proper market research regarding creation of a website or website design. These are as follows:-

  1. What Are the Main Objectives one Wants to Achieve by Creating A Website?
  2. Who Are Going to be the Primary Visitors of the Website?
  3. Where Are They Getting All the Required Information About the Industry That is Related to the Website?
  4. What is the Typical Sales Cycle for Your Website?
  5. What Problems Customers Face While Doing Transaction on the Website, (Mostly Purchase, if the Website has Provisions)?
  6. What the Competitors in the Business Are Doing to Attract Customers and How They Have Created their Website?
  7. What is the Main Reason Behind Setting Up the Website, was it Just About Propagating A Message or Simple Commerce?

Organizing your efforts to gather as much information should be important part of your website design strategy. Carrying out a proper market research before you invest your resources including time, money, hardware, software and above all human effort before creating a website can be the difference between a normal website and a top of the line website. The top of the line website not only allows the client to gain an edge over his/her competitors but also helps create a better recall value ultimately giving the client a perfect tool to beat competition in the market. Market research not only covers various aspects of website development but also covers social and data statistics that can help you gain maximum insights into making an informative decision about how to go about creating the perfect website.

Most importantly, a proper market research done before creating a website allows you to avoid mistakes that can hinder the performance of a website. These include the various mistakes, such as the following:-

  • Use of inept, old technology that is slow and non-responsive.
  • The team is un-responsive, too slow.
  • The team is incompetent.
  • The team is misled by poor communication.
  • The team has technological limitations.
  • The team has overpromised and missed deadline repeatedly.
  • The team is full of rude, short tempered members.
  • The team launched website without approval.
  • The team want able to create space for database.
  • The team was slow to respond.
  • The team didn’t explain problems with the concept brief given.
  • The team doesn’t give access even after work completion.

Same as market research activities done for various other “brick and mortar” businesses; you need to gather as much information as possible in order to meet your client’s expectations from the website these expectations have to be justified with respect to a website’s viability with respect to its ability to serve the business. The best way to do this is to start your market research with a few questions. Pondering over these questions can effectively give the answer as to why market research is needed for website design/designing. It is also important to remember a few important facts; such as:-

  1. 3/4th of Buyers Judge Credibility of Company by Looking at its Website.
  2. Life Span of a Website without Any Changes is normally 3 years.
  3. Website is Designed but for Computer and Mobile it is Adapted Differently.
  4. A Website ‘s Coding Plays Important Role in its Search Engines Ranking.

Enough of what and why; now let’s talk about how to conduct a proper market research for creating a website. For conducting a market research preparing a questionnaire is of utmost importance. A correct questionnaire will deliver almost all correct answers; and help conduct a proper market research. Below is the lay down of the golden rule that must be adhered to further for creating the best website are as follows.

1. How Much Research is Enough

Generally a research can be divided into 3 types; namely Quick Research, Long Research and Deep Dive Research.

  • Quick Research: A quick research that is completed within couple of hours, is basically an extended version of brief given by client (in case you are a pure web design company). If you have your own resources to develop a website, you go by the instructions of the management. Let’s take example of a web design company; it gets the brief gathered via email or phone on a set questionnaire, which is mostly same for all. These details allow the company to chalk out the estimated budget for creating the website and the time it will take. But it is still not enough, a little more research about who are in competition to your client gives a general overview of the industry. This research allows figuring out the similarities and differences between rival websites. This also allows you to create a website that meets industry standards but also adheres to clients wish list.

  • Long Research: this type of research that takes anywhere between couple of days to a week. This mostly happens when the client is unable to give clear picture of the website he/she needs. This require a lot more questions for clarity via regular email conversations and/or phone calls until a clear picture is on hand to create a website’s design. In the above case its better to not just know about the clients’ competitors but also about the industry on the whole. Also understanding the scope of the project is important as well as understanding client’s current online presence alongside analytics data (if available) also helps. The information thus gathered will help you to prepare a solid website; thus, allowing the client to save time and money in the future. This may also result in client retaining the services to web design company in future as well. All this will help create a better picture about the website, its page requirement and cost estimation.

  • Deep Dive Research: deep dive research can easily take over 15-20 days of concerted efforts for better clarity, objectivity in relation to the website that needs to be developed. There are several aspects to it; with respect to website that includes Design (Brand, Stationary, Design Audit, and Marketing Material); Development (Mobile Support, CMS, Native App); Technical Requirements (Domain, Hosting, Traffic). Under phase 1 ask the client about the website related marketing collaterals including offline publications, brochures, newspaper publications, annual reports, promotional posters, etc. these help in gathering of information about the client and help in creating the website. This is followed by asking the client about brand like colour, symbols, design preference, and brand message. This is important, as a website must reflect the company’s brand and related image.

    In phase 2 enquire with client how he/she wants to manage content; responsibility for managing content on the website; integrating a third-party software; sync data across multiple devices and platforms; future scope of expansion with regards to apps. In phase 3 you need to enquire if the hosting facility and domain name is ready; if you can’t handle it, request client to get it done from other party. In phase 4 enquire Google Analytics or other analytics tools to gain insights on the website performance, content discovery, page views, goals, optimisation and scope for improvement. Most importantly comparing the data with other websites is an important task with respect to market research about creating a website.

    While above market research phases are mostly ‘technical’, real research is conducted in phase 5 where one-on-one meetings with client and as many stakeholders and staff, are key to understand the mandate and parameters set by client for creating the website. This helps to understand client’s business and product/services. These meeting can stretch up to 3 days easily. In phase 6 the most important work pertains to the understanding of the clients’ idea behind setting up the business; its strategies, structure, priorities and reason for launching a particular product or service. How the product or service fared in the market, a little market research, goes a long way in helping create a website.

    In phase 7 it becomes important to do research about target audience of the website a proper research of target audience allows you to create a website that will appeal to the client. A website that doesn’t appeal to the end-viewer or end-user is worth nothing. In phase 8 of market research; it becomes important to interact with the target audience or end-user/viewer. Chance to interact with customers of the client gives the best feedback as to how the website should appear in the eyes of the end user including their motivation to visit the website multiple times in a day or month. All these data create a huge repository of information that helps in creating a website, whether brand new or revamped.

2. Use of Market Research

For a website designing company; designing a proper revenue-generating website is not only about coding, it also helps align the online business goals of client with customer needs and creating a better customer experience.

  • Customer Journey Development- Before a website design is undertaken, the ideal customer journey must be charted out. For that client and website designer must share input. Striking balance between them is crucial as it will help in the creation of the website and its navigation tree. To conduct market research, it I imperative to provide questionnaire to all beforehand, allowing them enough time to give detailed insight into their experience.
  • Co-creation & Innovation- it is a modern concept where client and customers are invited to co-create the website with you. Though most may be virtually illiterate in terms of web designing concepts but it is their innovative ideas that can help website stand out. In this creativity and conceptualization is the key; as it allows creating a more interactive experience. This type of innovative approach allows merging or integrating the essential elements in to the proposed client website. The only concern here is the budgetary constraints, if some ideas fit the bill these can be adopted while, the remainder can be shelved for later use when the website in up for maintenance or redesign and upgrade.
  • Concept Testing- an important aspect of market research is to create a number of mock-up of the website and to present them to client for decision on which to carry forward. Its important to test the concepts with customers, as it allows for incorporation of feedback from client.
  • User Experience Feedback- As the website development cycle nears launch, you must not forget to collect user feedback. Based on end user experience with regards to load times, aesthetics, and navigation of the website, all necessary concerns should be taken into account. It helps iron out critical flaws in a website.
  • On-going Refinement- even after launch of client’s website there is still scope for further for improvement. Market research allows you to concentrate on those particular areas where further chances of further improvement still exist, after the launch of the website.

Integration of the feedback into website allows for developing the best solution with respect to a website that is not only engaging, customer friendly but also generates revenue for the client. As such it is important to note that market research goes a long way; in helping create the best possible website, that not just boosts clients brand image but also helps improve end user experience. Not to mention the boost in credibility of the website designer as a reliable and efficient designer who takes into consideration every aspect that is related to website designing.