This is a guest post by Doug Bond, the online marketing director for Andy’s Web Tools.
As a small business owner, launching a new website can seem overwhelming. Many questions need to be asked, and it’s difficult to know if you’re ready to begin the building process. But with the proper preparation building a new website can be easy, inexpensive and fun.
Here are 10 questions to help guide you through the thought process – knowing the answers to these questions will help make sure you’re prepared to begin your Web project.
1. What is the goal of your website?
You should build your website with a goal in mind. Are you trying to generate leads? Increase awareness of your services? Provide general information? Whatever your goal is your website should reflect your mission and help you achieve it.
2. Who is your target audience?
Your website cannot be everything to everyone. Determine your target audience, and frame your content and design around meeting their needs.
3. What information are your target customers seeking?
Determine what your customers are seeking and then make this information easy to find on the site. Choosing the right layout is crucial for the user experience.
4. What content will you need to create? What can you reuse from current marketing materials?
Think about the questions customers ask most often and consider how you can make this information visually appealing on the site. Remember, your content is what will make people linger on your site and make return visits. Make sure your information informs and engages.
5. What will your site look like? What photos do you need?
The design of your site should reflect the mission, vision and culture of your company. If you operate a kid-friendly restaurant, use design, colors and language that would appeal to a family. Make sure the site’s look and feel will attract its intended audience. As for photos, consider signing up with an inexpensive stock photo company such as istockphoto.com or fotolia.com. You only need to purchase them at 72 dpi and can often find them for $1 each!
6. How frequently do you plan to update the site?
Make sure you have your site set up in way that is easy for you to manage. If you do not want to make regular updates, do not use language that implies you will be.
7. How would you like your visitors to contact you?
Make it is easy for visitors to get in touch with you. Whether you want to be contacted by e-mail, telephone or an online submission form, visitors need be able to clearly identify the next step in the communication process.
8. What will your domain name be?
Your domain name is important. Potential customers need to be able to easily and instinctively locate your site. Do some research to see what is available, and then ask around to see what type of name your friends and colleagues are most likely to remember.
9. Will your customers be able to make purchases online?
Use a service that offers a shopping cart application. Having a shopping cart on the website gives customers the opportunity to purchase multiple items simultaneously without having to experience the frustration of clicking through to checkout multiple times.
10. How will your promote your site?
It’s fantastic that you are thinking about building a website, but you cannot build it and then expect people to intuitively know that it exists. Consider using social networks to create brand awareness, and make sure your website is listed on all marketing collateral.
If you can answer these 10 questions you are in a great position to start building. Andy’s Web Tools is here to help you through the entire process, including free webinars and great customer service. You will be amazed at how quick and easy it is to build a website.
About the Author
- Small Business Internet Marketing: Where to Start (growmap)
- Free Business Listings in Local Search Directories: How to Get Yours (growmap)
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