What is the main purpose of your website? Just like a business plan, your website will be more successful with a little forethought. Check out the steps below for a little help on how to approach planning for your new website:
#1: Define your Website's Objective
First, be clear on what your primary purpose is for your Website. Examples include raising brand awareness, enhancing customer service, ecommerce, providing news and information, aggregation of information, building your email list, driving traffic to your blog, etc. You may have multiple objectives, and that’s fine; be sure to prioritize your objectives.
#2: Identify Your Design Strategy
Once you’re clear on the objective(s) of your website, the design needs to reflect that. Say your primary objective is providing news and information. You’ll need to have a design that looks more like a newspaper or news program including the ability to post articles like a newspaper and feature articles and maybe even include areas for your viewers to post comments to your site. Conversely, if you have an e-commerce site, it should look and feel more like window shopping with coupons to entice your customer to buy.
To help us better understand what you want your site to look like, find at least 5 websites that you like the look and feel of. Let us know:
• The website address
• What it is you like about the functions of the site
• What it is you like about the look of the site
• Look closely at the first thing you see on the website before scrolling down. This is the MOST important real estate of a site as it will represent your ‘elevator speech’ for your company and will entice people to continue to look through your site. Let us know things that you like on other sites and what will be important for yours.
Visit some of these different sites C²C has developed and look at:
• the layout/geometry
• the colors
• the ‘widgets’ (fun ways that information is displayed)
• the first thing you see on the sites before scrolling
• how you find information on the sites and how it is displayed/presented
Let us know if you like or do not like anything you see on these different sites:
#3: Determine Your Content Game Plan
Like the design strategy, your content needs to match your objective(s). Decide what it is that you want to include in your site. Begin writing articles that you want to include. Start to collect graphics, pictures, sound bites and videos that you want to include. Please keep in mind that websites are subject to copyright infringement just like any other publication. You also will need to make sure that you have the right to post the pictures you want to use on your website.
#4: Marketing and Promoting Your Site
Now you’ve built it and need to ensure “they come!” There are thousands of new websites launched daily – so you will need to let your audience know that your site has been born. And begin looking for places to advertise.
Our number one question after getting a site up is how do I get my site to pop up when I search it?
There are 2 main ways to promote your website:
1) ‘Organically’ through your own hard work
2) By paying for marketing help.
We have had success with both ways, however keep in mind that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more of an art than an actual science as trends, people, verbiage and ‘what’s hot’ is constantly changing.
If you have the time, energy and patience and are on a budget, we recommend going the organic route first. This will mean getting ‘down and dirty’ by doing the work yourself, but we are always here to help you and get you going in the right direction. Going the organic route will take more time, however it will save you money and you will have a much more intimate relationship with your audience and website in the end.
By paying for SEO, you may reach your goals quicker, however it will cost and may not provide results you are looking for the first time around. C²C is a certified Google Ad Words reseller and we will be happy to help you navigate that area.
#5: Engaging Your Audience
They found you! Now, how do you keep them interested and coming back? You’ll need to allocate resources to ensure your website is being monitored, moderated and updated—if not always by you, then by our team. If one of your objectives is to enhance customer service, you’ll want to be prompt in responding to customer’s comments and use a personal, approachable tone. Develop a plan for maintenance and updating your website. We like to use the following planning calendar provided by Google: Marketing Planner
#6: Creating A Loyal / Paying Audience
You’ll be building trust and loyalty among your audience with consistently good content and reliable responses. Now you must have a strategy in place to convert your audience to loyal/paying clients or customers. Perhaps you’ll offer a special event (live or virtual), coupons, discounts, newsletters and other incentives to give your audience a strong call to action. The bottom line is to let your audience know exactly what you want them to do. And remember: pace your offers.