First Things First: How To Plan Your Website For Success

The answers all fit together

When it comes to small business website planning, most people get the order wrong.

Often, a person will have an idea for a business and decide the first thing they need to do is have a website built. It’s not.

Or they may be pursuing a project, having some success and getting plenty of encouragement, and decide that this will make a good business. They think all they need to do to be ready for business is put up their website. It’s not.

A website is necessary for almost any business today. And it pays to have it professionally done and not rely on freebie site builders or a neighbor who’s good with computers or even the graphic artist who designed your cool new logo.

You need someone that knows about business and online marketing. Someone who knows the difference between what works and what simply looks good.

There are a lot of things that need to be decided before you ever think about domain names, special effects, colors, pictures, or any of the things that only make a site look good.

Ask the right questions

The first question is what type of site do you need? Most folks don’t know that there are several different types of websites that can accomplish very different things. So to answer this question, you first have to decide what you want your site to accomplish. Is it just for information, so that you’ll have a place for customers to learn about you and your product/service? Do you need it to bring in or pre-qualify leads? Or do you need an e-commerce site to actually make sales?

The next thing you have to decide is (and this is THE most important factor in marketing success), who is your audience? If you don’t know exactly who your target market is, there’s no need to bother. You need to know everything you can about them so you can speak their language and say something they want to hear.

These answers will help you determine the functionality; in other words, what does your site need to do? Does it need forms to collect information and let prospects and customers contact you? Does it need video to show a process? Does it need a shopping cart to take sales? Does it need a blog or forum to keep your audience up-to-date? You need to know exactly what you want people to do when they visit your site.

Only after we’ve answered these questions can we start planning specifics like keywords, colors, domain names, navigation structures and branding.

The answers all fit togetherIf you know your business these questions will be easy to answer because you’ve likely thought about all these issues as part of your business plan. If you haven’t, there are tools that can help. Knowing this information will not only help you have a better website, it will make your business stronger too.

Ready to get started? Got more questions? Contact me.