It’s pretty obvious that any good house starts with a solid foundation. The same applies to a website. In order to ensure a successful website that achieves your goals you need to start with a solid foundation. You need to develop a sound website strategy that outlines your goals, target audience, market position, competitors and marketing efforts. This strategy, or blueprint, will help you and your web designer develop a website that will achieve you online goals.
Put it this way if you don’t know why you want a website, apart from because everyone else has one, how will you be able to measure your success? Quite simply you can’t.
So how do you develop your strategy? To get you started consider the following:
What Are Your Online Goals?
What are the goals of your website? What do you want to achieve?
- Sell products online?
- Build sales leads?
- Reduce support costs?
- Inform people?
- Attract newsletter sign-ups?
- Attract advertising revenue?
- Brand yourself or your company?
- To reduce time providing telephone support?
Once you’ve defined your goals you can set about working out how to achieve them and how to measure the results.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Who is your website targeted to? Think about your audience and try to break it down in terms of:
- Internet skills
This will help you to determine your target audience which in turn will influence the look and feel of the website, whether you need to target an international, national or local market, what sort of pricing strategy to adopt, how easy the website should be to use and what sort of ongoing marketing strategies are required.
Who is Your Competition? How Are They Positioned?
Take the time to check out the competitive space. Questions to ask:
- Who are your online competitors?
- How do they position themselves?
- How easy/hard is their website to use? Is it engaging? Compelling?
- How are they positioned in the search engines? Can you compete?
How Will Prospective Customers Find You?
Once your site is built and launched you need to ensure a steady stream of targeted visitors. Now is the time to start looking at your ongoing marketing and what strategies you’ll need to adopt. Where will your prospects come from? Some to consider:
- Search engines?
- Word of mouth & referrals?
- Offline advertising?
- Online advertising?
- Forum participation?
The answers to these questions will help you define your marketing strategy and your overall website strategy. For example if you feel search engines will be an important driver of traffic to your website it is vital that that is taken into account when your website is being designed.
By considering the above you’ll be able to put together a clear blueprint detailing your website strategy and how it should be implemented. And in the long run it will help you, and your web designer, create a successful website.