The first question we ask when talking to someone about a new website project is the first question you should ask yourself when thinking about getting a new website developed.
WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE FOR?
This might seem obvious and maybe it is. I just know when talking to many, many people about this, the answer often isn’t great or completely worked out.
You can’t make decisions about a website without the answer.
It would be like going to buy a vehicle without knowing whether it is for light hauling (pickup), off-road (4 wheeler), or hauling kids around (mini-van or SUV)!
Most websites have a marketing purpose, but not all. Often, they have a marketing purpose but are also for existing customers or clients to some degree. So that should be thought out. If it is a dual-purpose site, you have to think of who it is primarily for, and how you will plan the site so that it serves both types of users.
There’s more detail to marketing purposes as well.
The first question is, who are you trying to sell to? Naming and describing in detail each TYPE of potential buyer (called a “public” or “target market”) is essential. If there is more than one distinctly different market, you must plan out how to make the site LOOK and COMMUNICATE correctly to each of them. That can be a challenge.
Then there is the critical question of what the website is supposed to achieve with the prospective buyer. It could be any one (or more) of these major steps in the “sales funnel”:
- Make them aware that you exist (visibility online through search engines or otherwise).
- Inform them of what you are offering, to whom, where (and sometimes when), as well as how they can get it – so they can see if this is something they are even interested in.
- Build confidence and interest.
- Generate a) inquiries, b) leads, or c) sales.
When you know these answers, you can start to find out what it will take to accomplish your goals. You can plan your site, and you can budget what it will take to complete it.
Of course, other factors such as competition and volume must play into your decision-making. We are really talking just the start of a strategy. If you don’ t have the above answers, you haven’t started.
You may say, I’m a small business, do I really need to go through all this?
If you want to succeed, yes you do.