To create an effective web site you need a plan.
You need to think about what exactly is the purpose of your site.
Are you going to use it to dispense information to your prospects and customers and create awareness for your brand and products? Or is it an online store that you are considering to sell merchandise? If you have clarity about the purpose of the site, you are off to a good start! Following are some of the key questions to get started with creating a plan for your web site.
- Who is your target customer? If they fall in several segments, do you want to create a site that is one size fit all or do you want to narrow your focus and cater to a smaller segment instead?
- What do your customers want from your business and the web site?
- What is the end goal of your business and the web site? How does that match up with what your competition is doing?
- Do you have a time line to create the website and make it operational?
- How are you going to promote your web site? Unless you go out and tell the world about it, you may not get much traffic to your site.
- What is the best way to use the web site to distribute information about your business?
- If you want to sell products on you web site do you have a plan for inventory management, shipping and for processing returns.
- Websites can be a great way to feel the pulse of the market and get feedback from your customers.
Have you planned for that?
First step is to develop a basic site plan that covers the most important features you want in your site.
If you aspire to be the next eBay of the world, you have to start small and then build on your vision as you go by continuously learning and correcting any mistakes.
Building the best site is not enough.
You must market it well to build awareness and tell the world about it.
Think about the tools and strategies you will employ to generate traffic.
Some of the common strategies are search engine marketing, search engine optimization and email marketing.
You obviously do not have unlimited marketing budget.
Consider the strategy that can get you the most bang for your buck.
Once the traffic starts to your site, it would be time to analyze it and see what is working and what is not.
For example if users are not clicking further than the home page then you need to rethink the home page design.
If they are placing products in the shopping cart but then abandoning it, you need to review the purchasing process.
Regularly review the traffic reports, page views, bounce backs, and click through rates to improve the content and navigation of your site and to add new features.
Your website is a reflection of your business and the products and services you are providing to your customers.
However, remember that Rome was not built in a day.
Start small, let it evolve over a few months as you keep your eyes, ears open for feedback from your customers, and use it to refine and renew the site.