So you’ve decided to go ahead with a new website – Now what?
Whether you're after a 2 page hobby or business site or a 2,000 page e-commerce site, website planning can be a daunting task so we’ve compiled some key points to help you get started.
When visitors land on your site they should be able to figure out what your business does.
Think about what you would be looking for when you are visiting a site and then tailor your site so that it offers the information users are likely to be looking for.
HOW DO YOU WORK ALL THIS OUT?
MAKE A PLAN
An effective plan will help your website achieve the goals you've mapped out for it and the features and functionality that your customers will love.
1. Define the purpose of your Site. It could be to…
- Generate income
- Develop name recognition or enhance company image
- Sell products to consumers or wholesalers
- Develop a national or global market for your business
- Provide useful information
- Showcase your hobby
2. Define Your Audience. Think expansively. Your business might be…
- Selling products to the public
- Providing business-to-business services
- Offering expertise to other professionals in your field.
- Display tips and how to do’s to other enthusiasts
Ask…who, besides direct customers, might view or use your site? Competitors? Suppliers?
Write down scenarios in which different types of visitors come to your site and try to think about how you would address each of their needs.
Visitor wants to make a purchase:
- Will you have an online e-commerce store?
- Will your site provide information aimed at the potential visitor contacting you to make a purchase or use your services?
- You may have specialty industry specific information that you wish to make available – will you provide a free downloadable link or do you want an email form that the visitor needs to submit to gain access to the information?
3. Pinpoint Your Edge. What is your story? What is it that makes you unique?
- Competitive angle: price, quality, service, and uniqueness of product or service
- Primary point of differentiation.
- Will you do a better job of marketing than your competition?
- Can you bring to the table special products, knowledge, contacts, and sources?
4. Do your research on similar websites. It's helpful to…
Look at similar businesses or hobbyist’s sites that are dealing with similar services, products or even your supplier's websites.
- Make note of any websites that you like the look of as well as ones that you really don’t like.
- Make lists of content, features, forms and design elements you like and don't like.
- What colours will I use – Check out our blog on The Importance of Colour in Web Design
5. What types of content/information will I include?
Depending on your business, you should have a few things on your website that fall into the realm of “information.”
If you want to sell products, you’ll need good quality photographs and clear descriptions
If you are a fencing contractor then photos of completed jobs and choices of fencing materials could feature.
Show off customer testimonials and reviews, speak to Your Visitors and Not Your Ego
The best way to tell people how great your company is through someone else’s words.
A hair salon could have client testimonials about a stylist's skills and promptness.
About – Make it Personal
People want to work with people. Including the names and bios of business owners and staff on your website gives things a personal touch and offers comfort by letting people know they can get a hold of someone if need be and also adds credibility.
6. What contact options will be included?
Call to Actions – A call to action in marketing is used to direct you audience to the action that you want
Connect with Social Media
Do you want to build your audience across social media platforms?
Place social sharing buttons prominently on your website for increased reach.
Offer Fresh Content
Keeping your site updated makes both visitors and search engines happy. An integrated small business blog is a great way to do this.
Have a look at our previous blog on CONTENT here – Content is King
SEO (search engine optimization) strategies are essential in getting new visitors to your website.
Have a look at our previous blog on SEO here –
Why SEO is Important for your Small Business Website
In the world of today’s internet, it is a must to have your website work well on mobile devices.
More information is available on our previous blog –
Why your website should be Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.
If you're selling anything online, you need to put some effort into securing your site with an SSL certificate. The SSL will encrypt communications between you and your clients (i.e. a credit card number etc.), which will allay their fears of providing such information, since there's so much identity theft on the web.
For more information on what your website should do, see our previous blogs below:
Why should I have a Website
Why Business Blogs are a Beneficial Marketing Tool
The importance of good photography for your web design
Simple steps to ensure your website stands out from the pack
Making Your Website Memorable
Be sure to keep an eye out for our last blog in our TECH TIPS series which will be covering
Advertising and Marketing your website