8 Things You Need to Know Before You Build a Fantastic Website

8 Things You Need to Know Before You Build a Fantastic Website

We discussed last week how a poorly designed website may do more damage than good to a company's bottom line. Following the publication of that piece, many letters were received inquiring as to the secret to creating a successful company website. I responded with the same response I usually give: creating a successful company website is a simple issue of definition.

It is necessary to establish the website's budget, goal, target audience, design, navigation, and content prior to creating the first graphic or writing the first line of code on the website's server. And, after all of that is said and done, you must choose the marketing strategy that will be used to attract people to your website.

Although it seems to be simple, you'd be surprised at how many really poor company websites there are out there. It's possible that yours is one of them. If this is the case, pay attention. Over the course of almost 10 years, my firm has built and rebuilt websites for every kind of business you can think of, ranging from small startups to large international corporations. In the course of designing (or redesigning) a few hundred websites, I've come to the conclusion that most company websites do a terrible job of providing value to their owners.

What's that, you didn't realize your company's website should be beneficial to you? It should just sit on a server someplace, taking up digital space and gathering virtual dust, in your opinion?

Wrong. Every website, whether for a business or for personal reasons, must have a purpose, and this is often where most websites fall short. It is impossible to tell what they are for since the website owner never gave them any consideration. It is not the fault of the website. A website is a non-living thing. It is just what you choose to make of it. The only life a website has is the one that has been given to it by its creators and proprietors. Unless the human element is effective in defining the building blocks, the website will serve no function and will ultimately die a digital death, according to the experts.

Because that is how I earn a significant portion of my income, I am grateful that creating a successful company website isn't brain surgery for most people. It is all about definition when it comes to creating a successful, well-designed website that works for its owner and really serves a purpose.

Establish a financial plan

Every website, no matter how big or little, must have a budget that is realistic, with the word "realistic" being the key word in this sentence. How many times have I sat with a prospective customer while they rattled all the eight million amazing things they wanted their website to accomplish, only to discover that their budget was a few hundred dollars? I'm not sure how many times this has happened to me. I always get the desire to say something like, "Well, you just spent three hundred dollars of my time, so here's your bill..."

Define the goals and objectives

Every website must provide a certain function. Everything revolves around the purpose, including the audience, the design, the navigation, the content, and the marketing. There is so much more I could say about purpose, but suffice it to say that there are five categories of purpose into which most websites fall: the purpose to inform, the purpose to educate, the purpose to entertain, the purpose to generate leads, the purpose to sell, or a combination of these purposes. If you fail to identify the goal of your website, everything else will be a waste of time and effort.

Define the target audience and its characteristics

The portion of the general public that you want to attract to your website is referred to as your target audience. If you sell shoes, for example, your target audience would be everyone who has feet. Going one step further, if you exclusively offered women's shoes, your target audience would consist only of female customers (with feet) What is the significance of identifying your target audience? You cannot build a website that will appeal to your target audience if you don't know who they are or what their interests are. Customers, investors, job searchers, information seekers, and so on may be among your target audiences. Choose who your target audience is, and then determine how to best serve them.

Create a design concept

During the past couple of years, website design philosophy has seen significant shifts, mainly as a result of the fact that search engines increasingly disregard graphic-heavy websites and give priority to those that adopt a minimalistic approach to design. If you take a look at some of the big boy websites, such as those for GE, Oracle, Raytheon, HP, and others, you will notice that the emblem of the business is often the sole image on the homepage. Search engines now give greater priority to websites that provide keyword-rich content over attractive visuals, according to recent research. Don't try to stop the design trend. You're going to lose.

Define the navigational structure

The most common cause for website visitors to leave a website is due to poor navigation. The navigation of a website refers to the series of links that a visitor follows to move through the site. A logical navigational hierarchy, excessive or insufficient connections, or a site that is just difficult to navigate are all signs that you have issues. We live in a civilization that is dominated by microwaves. It takes an eternity for a bag of popcorn to pop in the microwave. We stand in front of the microwave, tapping our foot and staring at our watches, wondering why it takes so darn long. The question is, why can't a three-minute egg be completed in thirty seconds? Your website's navigation has to be improved if it takes a visitor more than three clicks to reach any page on your website.

Define the content of the website

The information on your website, whether it be in the form of images, text, or downloadable goods, is referred to as content. Because the major search engines no longer scan websites based on HTML Meta tag data, it is critical that your website content be text-heavy, concise, and well-written in order to appeal to the search engine spiders and be found.

Define the construction method

After that, who will be in charge of developing your website? Is it more cost-effective to do it yourself using one of the point-and-click website builders, or to pay the kid next door to do it? Will you employ a freelance designer or will you hire a professional design company? The technique of construction is generally dictated by the budget, but be aware that when it comes to website creation, you get what you pay for. If you give them a pizza or force your daughter to accompany them to the prom, the child next door will create a website for you, but the website will appear and function as if it was created by the kid next door, not by the kid next door.

Define the marketing strategy

Will they come if you put up a structure? Certainly not in your life, or at the very least, not without an effective marketing effort. Your website should become an integral component of your overall marketing strategy, both online and offline.

Include the website URL on all of your marketing materials, including business cards, brochures, letterhead, and other printed materials. Include the address in all of your advertisements, including print, television, and radio. If you want to conduct internet marketing, research the websites that your target demographic frequents and place advertisements there.

If marketing is something you are unfamiliar with, do yourself a favor and consult with an expert. Many companies fail simply because their owners do not understand how to successfully advertise their goods and services to their target markets. This is also the demise of the majority of commercial websites.

Here's to your continued success!


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