While there are several things you’ll need to help get your site online, nothing is more important than first clearly defining your goals. Doing so, more than anything else, reveals which requirements are most important for your website so you can make a comprehensive plan that will take you successfully across the finish line. So what are key factors to consider?
As when starting a business, launching your business website should begin with a plan. Determining key information early on informs the entire site building process and inevitably saves you a lot of time, energy, and resources. While each business is a little different, we’ve listed three key points that everyone should consider when preparing to create a business website.
1. Determine your Goals.
Before you can begin to solve a problem, it helps to know what the problem is. Ask yourself questions to identify what your website is intended to accomplish. For example: What kind of website do I want? Should the website serve principally to present information? Does this information need to change regularly? Will my website sell a product online?
Also consider what changes may happen over time. Ask yourself what future plans exist for your business. Answering questions like these is the first step toward outlining the type of website you should build.
2. Understand your message and your audience.
Your website will present a message to each and ever visitor, so it is important to think about what you want to communicate. The message you craft will help you not only identify your target audience, but will affects your website’s look and feel, design, content, presentation, etc… So it’s important to determine it as soon as possible. Make sure your messaging is clear, concise and easy to understand.
And remember, nothing should influence your messaging more than the audience to which it is intended, i.e. your future website visitors. Think about both who will visit your site as well as who you want to reach. Will existing customers visit your website? Potential customers? What is the goal of your messaging?
TIP: A good technique to get new ideas is to study websites of competitors or other businesses striving to achieve similar goals as you. Visit these sites and ask yourself questions like: What is the purpose of this website? What are they selling? Is the message clear? Did it compel me to learn more? A good website should be able to answer these important questions immediately.
3. Time and budget.
It’s great to have a vision of the perfect website, but remember to factor in real-world constraints. Be realistic about your budget and the amount of time you have to invest in building your website. Will you be building the website yourself? Will your site feature an e-commerce feature? Don’t forget to factor in the cost of web hosting, domain names, and advertising. We recommend writing everything down and adjusting different factors based on your allotted budget. Some areas may have more flexibility then others depending on your priorities.
There are several more factors to consider as you delve into building your website, but these are some great places at which to start the process. With a strong understanding of these three considerations, you’ll be better equipped to craft a strong plan. And remember, the more detailed your plan, the less likely you will run into snags as you proceed.