Building a website for your small business should not be a spur of the moment decision.
And yet, as a website developer, I often meet new clients who have decided to build a website for their business but they haven’t yet considered how that site is going to improve their business.
Some still view a website as an online business card and, as I’ve covered in my blog posts before, a website can be so much more if it is planned and implemented correctly. The key to this effectiveness is carefully-considered planning – at every stage along the line.
Before picking up the phone or emailing a web designer for the first time, there are a few key questions that need your attention to ensure that the website development stages are quick and the final website is more effective when it is launched.
#1 What is the Key Objective of the Website?
Very simply, in as fewer words as possible (one sentence if possible), write down a measurable objective for your business website. This single sentence will guide everything else that happens along the way to development your site. The measurement is usually written as a percentage.
i.e. Increase the Monthly Sales of XYZ company by 20%
#2 Who is the target audience?
With point #1 clearly in mind, now look at what kind of site visitor is going to make that measurable objective possible.
Who will be looking for your products/services? Where are they? How old are they? What gender?
Be as specific as you can – this information will help your designer plan and style your site.
i.e. 18 to 60-year-old men interested in recreational fishing around the North QLD area.
#3 What kind of content will your audience be seeking at your site?
After identifying the audience that you want to attract to your site, grab a pencil and paper to map out the type of content that these potential customers will respond do. Will they want to read text blogs like this or would they respond better to video or imagery? Maybe a mixture would work best?
What kinds of information / products / services will they be seeking from you and, most importantly, what information do you want them to have about you and your business?
i.e. Information about the latest estuarine fishing equipment, videos on how it is used, fact sheets on where the fishing are biting….
#4 What are your competitors doing online?
Get this information in conjunction with point #1 – Get online and see what your competitors are doing with their websites. Google all relevant information regarding your target audience. Your top competitors will generally be at the head of the list – What kinds of content are they using? What appeals to you on their sites? What doesn’t?
Although your web developer should do this research as well, it will be highly beneficial to you as your website takes shape and you know what you are aiming for.
#5 What timeframe do you have to complete the site?
Armed with the knowledge that designers work better when given a timeframe (I know I do), when you want to launch your site to the world? Keep in mind, you must be able to “hold up” your end of the bargain and ensure that you can provide the content that the site requires for launch. Even the most experienced developer will baulk at a proposed launch date if they don’t have the content for the site.
By having the above planning completed/documented before contacting a designer, you will also be able to brief them clearly and then ascertain whether they can do the job at hand.
Don’t leave your small business’ website goals up to the designer. Remember that no-one knows your business better than you.
Have you got all the above planning done and are ready to go ahead and contact a designer?
Get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design on 0488 406 050 and we will work with you all the way (and even beyond) to a great, customer converting website for your small business.