Designers solve problems. Give them the right problem to solve and they will help you do that. Give them the wrong problem and they’ll help you do that too.
One of the first questions a web designer will ask you is, “What are your goals for your website?” You might respond, “I need a website so I can get found in Google search.”
Solving that? No sweat. We’ll do our research, create a content strategy, do some on-site optimization, create an off-site optimization plan and devote tons of time and energy and money toward solving that problem.
But what if your customers aren’t looking for you on Google?
What if they’re looking for you on Amazon, or Yelp, or Angie’s List? What if you have a brand new product — an innovative idea — and people don’t yet know it exists or understand what it is? Will they be searching for it on Google?
If you had answered the question like this: “People don’t know I exist and I need a website to reach customers,” the way we approach that problem will look very different. Maybe we decide SEO is where the focus should be, maybe not.
Be Careful Not To Let Tactical and Copycat Thinking Get In The Way When Setting Website Goals
We all get caught up in tactical thinking (i.e. “Getting found on Google” is a tactic we use to get found online) because everywhere we look, somebody’s telling us we need to do something: we need SEO, we need to be on social media, we need an email list… It’s easy to get caught up in doing something because everybody else is doing it or telling us to.
Solving the right problem means thinking more about our own business challenges. Your goals, strengths and resources are unique.
Solving the wrong problem means that in the short run, you’ll be happy because your designer delivered what you wanted. But if you solved somebody else’s problem and not your own, eventually you’ll become frustrated when you realize your website is not helping your business.
But is that the designer’s fault? They followed your lead, after all.
Identify the change you want your website to bring your business. Whatever that is, the designer’s role is to help you create it.