Building your website, or rebuilding one that wasn’t built so well, is a big project for any business. You may want a simple 6 page site, or a 25 page interactive site with all kinds of video and downloads for your audience. It doesn’t really matter where you intend to go, but that you make a plan and take the necessary steps to get there. In the end, you want your website to be the best it can be and to reach who it needs to reach, namely your clients.
Building your website starts with a plan
If you’re going to school, you make a plan. If you’re going on a trip, you make a plan. Building a house requires a blueprint and a plan, so building your website needs a plan. It doesn’t take long to get overwhelmed with all the information available on what needs to be on your website. As a web designer, I can build anything you want. I can make your website do, say and look however you want; but until it addresses a few specific issues it may not reach your audience the way you have hoped and could raise obstacles for your business planning. There are several keys to making a website successful. Taking the time to make a plan for building your website is an investment in your future success and will help reach your potential clients with your key message.
The first step is What?
What do you want to accomplish in building your website? Do you have a goal in mind? Are you looking for a client to come to your store? Are you wanting them to read your article? Do you want to get their contact information? Are you promoting a sale, or event, or do you want to educate people about what you do?
Setting a goal for building your website helps iron out it’s purpose and determines the kind of content you put on the site. For example; If the goal is to have a client come to your store and buy a product, your goal could be to create an incentive for them to visit the store. A free gift, a special promotion or secret sale with a code they could only get by invitation from the website. This could be a simple process to create, but if all you built on your site was pages of dry information, your client may never show up for the special sale. Good information isn’t a bad thing, but it’s more important to determine the goal for your website ahead of time to help utilize what you want your website to accomplish for your business. Setting goals for your website build can demonstrate how effective your web marketing is and aids in adjusting content so you get the best return on your investment.
Who are you trying to reach?
Do you know who your client is? Are you trying to attract new clients, or are you wanting your website to be a tool for expanding more business for existing clients?
By understanding who you are trying to reach, you can tailor the information they receive and how they respond to it. Will your audience prefer to read a blog or watch a demonstration video? Maybe they would rather download an e-book or enrol in an email course you are offering. Content for your website can be sent and received in many different forms. Know which ones work the best for your audience when building your website. If the information you provide is valuable and fills a need, then it creates a demand and a potential response for your business. Know who you are trying to reach.
What keywords are you going to choose in building your website?
Every page of your website must have a keyword that it’s built around. Carefully chosen keywords help keep your content thematic and build your rank for those keywords in search engines. The goal to start is to build with keywords that are actually being searched for in your local area, but also through analytics to keep track of what other keywords your articles are ranking for. Having a keyword plan keeps you on track with your content development and also attracts a focussed audience based on the phrases and themes you choose. You can research keywords with several free tools, including the Google Keyword Tool. You can also search similar themed web sites to compare relevant keywords and uncover fresh keyword phrases you can use for future content that are not being used by competing websites. Be sure not to “stuff” your content with keywords and phrases. The goal is to find keywords that make sense to the content of your article, read naturally, but are also easy to draw attention to with search engine optimization. Keyword optimization is a critical element to building your website.
When you reach your audience, what do you want them to do?
A website can be built just to collect names and email addresses. That takes us back to the goal of building your website. A call to action is the clear message and action you want your client to take. Is it to download an eBook, leave an address, send for more information about your service. In building your website, it needs to be crystal clear the action you want your clients to take. If a website is built without a call to action, it’s really not functioning as a tool for your marketing. My job is to build websites. My call to action is a Free Web Analysis, which has the interested client sending me information about building their website. It’s great that I’m developing great content, but the goal is to have them take that action so I can build their website.
How will you use the design and navigation of your website to get clients to respond to your call to action?
Does your website design make it easy for the reader to respond to your call to action? Are the buttons clearly laid out and easy to click? Do they ask and gather the right information? Are they tested and easy to find? I know that it’s a lot of questions, but when planning your website, it’s vital to direct the content and navigation to have the reader respond. Your website is a tool designed to get results for your business and laying the path out clear will help you get the best response. Buttons, links within the content, and linked pictures can all help direct clients to the response you want to create. The key is to make it easy for them to respond, like it was planned that way.
Building your website needs a plan.
- What’s your goal?
- Who are you reaching?
- What keyword’s will you use?
- What response do you want?
- Is it easy to make that response?
You’ll have dozens of more steps to consider in building your website, but these 5 steps will help smooth out your web plan and avoid some of the pitfalls that come from a lack of website planning. Having a plan that includes these vital steps will put your website on the path to success, help you reach your audience, strengthen your search engine ranking and open the potential to grow your business.