Before you start designing your website, decide on these strategic points:
1. Who your best customers are. Use this information to think about how they use the web, what questions they'll have about your products and services, and what they'll want to know when they come to your site If your customers don't use the web often, then you can probably get by with a single-page website or a very simple site – instead of spending time and money creating a complicated website that no one will look at.
2. What you want your site to do for your business. Your website can act an employee in your business – and if you've only got one or two people in your small business, having an extra "set of hands" can be really helpful! Your website can:
- Help you sell products or services
- Answer your customers' questions
- Help you with your press efforts
- Get more potential clients to your business through the search engines
- Help your clients get an idea about the pricing on your services (providing prices and quote forms)
- Show samples of your work through a portfolio
- Help you manage your schedule of appointments
- Really, the list goes on and on.
3. How many pages you want your site to have. This will be a big factor in how much development your site will take, both in terms of writing the site and designing/coding the site. As an additional step here, deciding the page outline, or site map, of your site can help give you even more direction – and can help your designer/coder (if you need one) to give you an accurate quote on your project from the beginning. Knowing the extent of the site can also help get it launched on time.
4. What your customers want from your website. When a customer looks at your site at 3am, what questions will they have? How can your site give them the answers and information that they need without them having to call you? Because you certainly don't want any sort of phone calls at 3 in the morning, and if someone wants information now, you want to be able to give them the answers they need.
5. What's the next step you want your customers to take after viewing your site? Do they need to read more? Buy your information product? Call you for a consultation? Purchase services? Having a call to action on your site and stepping people through your working-with-you process can really help to make it clear to your clients how they can work with you, what to do next and basically where to go!
These 5 points will help to make your website easier to create and more effective with your customers.
If you did design your site without addressing these points, then it can help to go back and make sure that it makes sense from this perspective.