The first step in developing your business website is getting a clear sense of what your requirements are and the purpose of the site. By answering questions on a Website Planning Questionaire, you will gain a clearer picture of your website needs. We will use this information as the foundation of your website development plan.
Step 1: General Information Gathering.
Decide on your budget and timeframe for getting the site up and running. Who will be on your team making decisions for the new site? Having a project coordinator will keep your project on track and stay within your budget limits.
Step 2: Assess your current website and know what you want before designing the new website.
Take a good look at what you currently have. Decide what is working and what isn’t. This is a good time to brainstorm all the added features you don’t have now but would like to incorporate into the new site.
Ask your employees for their input at this point. Since they are actively working with customers, they have a good sense of what needs improving.
Go through websites and take a look at their features. Bookmark sites you might like something on so that you can come back to it later. Check out your competition as well as trade organizations. Its also a good idea to look at sites not related to your business. They might incorporate a feature that you or your competition aren’t using but would make a dramatic effect.
Step 3: Define your Audience.
Who is your customer? A lot of business owners make the mistake of thinking of just their business and what they want to TELL the public. Start thinking like your customer. Change your mindset from business owner to someone who wants to buy from you.
Another mistake business owners make with their website is to copy their organizational chart on their website. This is very boring and is not in keeping with a buyer-mindset. What information is your customer looking for on your website? By determining how your customers use or want to use your site, you can re-design the site to be more interactive, more eye-catching, and more user-friendly.
Step 4: Your Business.
In order to really craft a good website, determine the ultimate purpose of the site. Most companies know they NEED a website but they might not have determined “why” they need one. Not every website has the same purpose.
Make sure to coordinate your online and print media design strategies at this point. If you have marketing materials specifically branded to your business, use those colors, logos, etc. to help create the website. When someone lands on your site, you want them to know it’s you.
Step 5: Managing Your Website.
An often overlooked part to the process is who will manage the content once the site is up and running. So you have stayed within budget, planned out the new site and have launched it. What is your goal for the site?
Content is king online but good content will set you apart from your competitors. Give your buyer a reason to come back to your site with targeted content that is eye catching. Thinking about your content strategy while planning your website will help with layout and give your team direction for the future of marketing your company.
If you would like to outsource the website design, maintenance, content strategy, etc. give us a call. That’s what we do!