What Should I Be Thinking About When Planning My Website?
Here are some questions to ponder:
Who is your target audience?
Is this website for existing customers, potential customers, investors, or all three? Who is most important for you to reach and what information do you most want to give them?
What information do you want to provide and how will it be organized?
Make a list of everything that any potential visitor could want to know about your company and products first, and then start organizing it.
What are your long term goals for this website and in what order will they be accomplished?
If you plan to start small and expand later, it can be helpful to break your plan into “phases”. The first phase might be a brochure site with PayPal buttons for a few products. The second might be a larger e-commerce site with an integrated admin so you can update your products. A third phase might be a robust cart application that can integrate with your inventory and suppliers.
What are your real needs and what is “bloat”?
It’s easy to get carried away by what you could do with all this technology. But technology that you don’t understand or isn’t really integrated into your business system and practices is pretty useless (and can cause more headaches than it’s meant to solve).
What are other people doing and how will you be different?
See what your competition is up to on the web. Look at major retailers like Amazon and Target. See what other similar-sized retailers in different niches are doing. But don’t just copy what they are doing: think about how you will stand out from this crowd.
What is your overall marketing strategy and how does your website fit into it?
Is your website going to generate new leads? Where will your traffic come from? Will you utilize social media sites like Facebook and Twitter? What are your marketing strategy and tactics?
Need more help planning your website?
My printer-friendly Website Planning Worksheet asks all the major questions you need to be organized and prepared for your website design or redesign.