Here’s why we start every web design project by asking, “What does success mean for you?”

Web design should never be an abstract process. Every Website Recharge project we launch starts with a kickoff session and a series of stakeholder interviews designed to discover how our client defines success.

What you want your web design to accomplish should define what it looks like and how it operates. For too many business owners, installing WordPress out-of-the-box means putting up with extra features that don’t advance your goals—and not enough tools that lead to new business.

That’s the good—and the bad—impact of an easily adoptable content management system like WordPress. We can often tell what year you started your WordPress website, just from the artifacts left by the standard themes that shipped with the core installation at the time.

What does success look like on your small business website?

Today’s best web design projects take a much narrower view of “success,” then strip out all the elements that don’t contribute to that goal.

  • If you’re not publishing a daily or weekly blog post, you may never need to use “Posts” at all. Hide that functionality and just use “Pages” to ensure that viewers don’t fall down a rabbit hole of archive stubs left by the “Hello World” default post.
  • If you’re funneling viewers into a very specific sales page experience, you can strip out the navigation. Focus your energy on driving clicks to the next action you want your audience to take, instead of surfacing a bunch of distractions at the top of the page.
  • If you and your team don’t read or write HTML code as part of your daily workflow, you shouldn’t be forced to learn. WordPress is finally comfortable enough for novice users, but old installations can still be confusing enough to discourage you from updating.

The Real Reasons Behind Successful Small Business Web Design

Each of these cases describes a specific “success metric” that clients have told us about during recent web design projects:

  • “I want clear pages that lead to signups/sales.”
  • “I don’t want to invest too much time in keeping the site updated and looking nice.”
  • “I want to make it easy for my non-technical, front line staff to post daily specials and availability updates.”

If we hadn’t probed to discover the real business needs behind each of these projects, we’d never have arrived at the right designs. Some web development teams ignore the discovery process for the sake of speeding clients through a process. Others go overboard, resulting in a list of business requirements that’s too complex for any design to ever achieve.

Instead, we’ve spent most of the last decade refining a research and interview process that draws out the real reasons you want a strong website in the first place. In concert with your company’s values, mission, and brand guidelines, we’ll develop a web design that knows the job it needs to get done.

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram