In today’s economy, if you want the business, you just have to stand out, no exceptions. This concept also carries over to your web site as well. Throwing up a few nice looking pages just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you want your web site to stand out and be noticed, you have to really make sure it implements a well planned Internet Business Strategy. A well planned strategy will increase your chances of exposure on your web site.
1) Who is your target audience? This isn’t just the generic term like “my target audience is people with money to spend”, but who is your target audience really? What are their likes and dislikes? What kind of words and phrases are their “hot buttons”? What are their fears, and what kinds of problems do they have? What services to they require in addition to yours? Knowing the answers to these questions will take you a long way towards designing a web site that connects with your target market.
2) What makes you different than anyone else in your field? You are a unique individual and have your own special way of serving your clients. Why would someone want to do business with you instead of your competition? Remember, people buy experiences along with the product or service. What is unique about your customer’s experiences with you? Can you articulate that? If not, you need to be able to do this because you will need to put this on your website.
How do you want people to find your website on the Internet? This can be a 2-part question. If you want people to find you through the Internet, and via search engines, then you need to know what search terms your audience is using. Not what you THINK they are using, but what they are ACTUALLY using. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a list of search terms from clients that they want to optimize their website only to later discover that their target market doesn’t even search for the terms they optimized their site for. Sure, the terms may sound reasonable off the top you your head, but that may not be where their target market is coming from. Investing in a decent keyword research tool will pay for itself within the first year.
4) What do you want people to do once they get on your website? This is the biggest and most important thing that you will want to have clarity about. It doesn’t matter how many people come to your website. If they don’t take the action you want them to take, then all of your efforts are lost. You will need to be clear about what action you want them to take and when. Make it as easy as possible for them to take that action and don’t make them work for it, or you will lose them. You should limit the number of things people can do on your website if you are using your website as a lead-generator, or to sell something from. The more choices you give them, the higher the chance that they will do nothing. Don’t give your visitors a ton of choices when they land on your website, or they will just leave.
5) How do you want to lead people through your website? There is a flow that you may want to take people through when they get to your website. What is the flow? You will want to understand and know what that flow is, and what to do when people come to your website in the middle of the flow. How will you guide the through in that case? Once you have your flow, you will know how to set up your website and where to place your navigation links, and call to action.
When you become fully clear and understand the programs and services you need before you begin designing your first web page, you will save yourself headaches, time and money. Time from having to redo things and money in losing out on sales you could have made if you had set your website up to maximize returns in the first place. If you haven’t done these things yet, it is never too late to start.