Preplanning your Website project for Internet Marketing
To set up a business website, you need to get organised and consider a few variables to help your web developer be in a better position of awareness to help you move towards the results you want and need within your expected budget and schedule.
The first step is to get organised with the information you need to make informed decisions.
Identify your proposed website’s goals, objectives and expectations.
Define who is your target market and what are their specific characteristics profile for identifying their needs and wants for what solutions you will offer them.
Define your point of difference from your competitors
Study your competitors who are targeting the same customers as you. Think about defining your Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). Brainstorm and consider the proposed sales copy you will need to write up for your website pages. After studying a few of your competitor’s websites, start to draw up your site map skeleton to clarify your website’s navigation hierarchy.
Start with the top menu navigation link buttons and then consider the submenu links that may even have need levels of submenu links. The site map skeleton provides a clear focus for creating a plan for building your website.
Use a Pen and Paper to plan out your website project
You may need to set aside time to sit down to think and brainstorm your ideas and objectives for what type of website you are interested in creating and why?
Start a visual diary or notebook of websites that you could explore for insights, ideas and influences that could help you fast-track your own goals.
Imagine the result and what is required to improve your communications with your customers and prospects to help them get what they are interested in quicker, easier, and conveniently which means you can make more sales online or offline.
Consider strategies that provide the functionality required to provide solutions to your customer’s interests.
As the internet has become a competitive place to market business, you need to consider how you will attract visitors to your website.
Why Not Consider Customer Keyword Searches used on Google
One big question is, “Would you like your customers to find your business, product or service online using keyword searches on major search engines like Google?” If Yes, you need to consider some initial keywords that you would expect your customers to be typing into search engines.
Identify customer interests with Keyword research to identify your content topic and focus to develop content that answers the questions your target market is seeking to help search engines drive traffic to your website.
Keyword research also looks at the intent behind the user’s search. Is the searcher looking at lessons, and reviews, or is interested in buying a product or service?
Depending upon your customer’s interests your content will need to reflect and answer the questions and topics.
Keyword research aims to find out what specific topics are in demand related to your aims that can then be used for structuring content with the relevant keywords into your website’s content.
The goal is to match search demand with your business proposition. This process is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Search Engine Marketing (SEM). There are now many services worldwide that specialise in on-site SEO.
For general planning prompts and goals
The following questions aim to help you raise your awareness so that you are in a better position to advise your web designer on your preferred directions in your website project.
- Have you decided on a budget for setting up a website?
- Have you identified what will be your expectations to make the project viable relative to your objectives and expected financial return?
- What would you like people to do when they visit your website what will be the call to action? Will there be a unique offer?
- What is the experience that you would like the user to take away from visiting your website?
- Do you have a registered business name for using a .com.au address?
- Have you looked into getting a domain name for your branding and business’s web and email communications? i.e. www.your_business_name.com.au
- Are you organised with written content, are you preplanned with a site plan and ready to set up a website with ready-to-be-supplied pre-proofread text and images?
- Are you clear about the content required for various pages with a proposed website?
- These pages might include information about your products and services, features and benefits, opening hours, your location, contact details, privacy policies and your terms and conditions. Maybe even specific web forms to collect information that your customers request.
- Have you thought about writing up a list of the page names to be linked into a website navigation system?
- Have you created a site map or flow chart of your proposed website? This site map would also include external links to other websites.
- Have you been looking at websites of businesses similar to yours? if yes, have you taken notes on what you like and dislike about these sites?
- Are you able to explain the aspects that you like and dislike as part of planning your website?
- Have you researched why you would like to set up a website? i.e. do you have a unique idea that can be applied in the web media to complement your existing business strategies?
- Have you thought about specific keywords that you would like the users of search engine users to find your site with? When we use Google, for example, we use keywords to find the information that we are looking for. Therefore, as an author of information to be published on the web, we may wish to write up a list of keywords that we can use to structure your website pages to be search engine friendly. A term used in the web industry today is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as well as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) which are extremely important for ensuring your website can be found amongst thousands of other websites that have similar information to yours.
- Therefore, have you considered the important need to do keyword research into what words your prospects are using in the search engines when they are looking for solutions similar to your business propositions?
- Google Trends
- Answer The Public
- Free Word Tracker Keyword tool
- Keyword discovery
- Thesaurus.com | Dictionary.com
- Do you have your business details (inc. your logo) readily available in electronic form? if yes, has it been edited for the web as well as proofread by a 3rd party? if not, do you need to seek the services of a professional copywriter?
- Do you have an existing business image that you would like to develop on the web? if not, do you need to acquire the services of a graphic designer to create your business logo and branding?
- Do you have a deadline or schedule for getting a web presence?
- Do you already have a hosting service organised?
Successful websites require a mix of variables that include:
- A web design and layout that provides clarity to your message to reach your target audience;
- Content that has an internet marketing focus that aims to align your information with what people are searching for online. This aspect is achieved by doing the appropriate keyword research for structuring your website for search engine optimisation;
- Standards-compliant coding for a solid foundation that considers accessibility, modern coding standards, speed of delivery on both desktop and mobile devices, and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of your content; and
- And using a reliable Hosting service that can be contacted for support.