Many businesses hear how they must have a web presence to be relevant in today’s market.  So they rush to throw up a website, anything to get their name on the web, often created by their CEO’s best friends monkey’s uncle who watched a video online and considers himself an expert.

Planning a website takes times and a solid strategy based on a few key issues.  The following 3 questions will help you with your website planning.

1. Define your ideal customer. Be specific and write it down.  When thinking about your ideal customer, include their age, sex, education, spending habits, etc. How do you know what your site should look like and how it should behave if you haven’t taken this step.  For instance, if your ideal customer is 20-25 year old women with their first child, you don’t want a website, laid out in dark colors with a formal tone. And in the reverse, you don’t want a pink girly look if your ideal clients are 50-something male business executives. Check out this post at the American Express Open Forum for tips on finding your ideal client.

2. What specific action do you want your site visitors to take? Download a sales brochure? Join your email list? Purchase products?  Whatever action you want them to take, you must design your site like a funnel leading them to that step you want them to take. A clear call to action (CTA) is a must.  Tell them exactly what you want them to do.

3. What is the overall goal of your website?  Are you putting up your site because everyone else is doing it?  That’s not good enough.  Is your website meant as a general brochure type just to give basic information?  Do you want to convert visitors to customers or just get their contact information to sell through other means?  The goal of your site should guide you its layout and content.

Once you answer these questions, you are well on your way to forming a plan of attack for creating your site.

I’d love to hear your answers to the 3 questions above.  Leave a comment or questions and let’s get some conversation started.