Does Your Website Fit?

 

Business website planning when done well yields results. Have you spent time wisely?

At start-up, you allocate funds to equip your office, purchase computers and software to manage your business. However, did you allocate business website planning time and funds to get the website your business needs to attract the right customers and present your brand correctly?

One Size Does NOT Fit All

Websites are not “one-size fits all” solutions. To get one that is tailored precisely for your business needs, you must know:

  1. Who your primary customers are
  2. What they search for on the Internet
  3. How your products and services fulfill their needs and wants
  4. What is the primary purpose of your website
  5. What is the primary action your site’s visitors should take
  6. Who is going to manage your website and keep it updated
  7. How will you track success or quantify conversions
  8. How will you market your website

These insights help you develop buyer personas for each potential customer visiting your website—and they may be different than other buyer personas you’ve developed for face to face sales. Buyer personas in turn help your web design and development firm to create the site that will support your business goals.

Of course, you know your business goals are not the same as your competitors. And you know your brand must have a different selling proposition—one which positions your company distinctively when compared to your competition.

Tailored for Your Business

We often see people with great ideas and stellar business concepts essentially shutting the door to potential opportunity when they decide that their website can be created by their friend’s teenage son or by using cheap web site development templates or online site building tools.

They make the mistake of buying “off the rack” and getting a template or design that was made to fit just about anybody. What often happens after purchasing off the rack? They spend their precious dollars having a web developer reverse engineer the template to fit their business brand and goals.

Isn’t it much more efficient to build what is best going to suit your business? This is a no-waste strategy. Get exactly the right solution for exactly your goals.

Don’t expect that you can figure this out in an afternoon, or a day or even a week. You will need to do some homework. Know how your competitors’ sites function. You must look at lots of websites—within and without your industry. Evaluate what works as you use a site and what frustrates you. Try, if you can, to think like a customer, not as the business. Analyze what makes you leave a site or what makes you stay. And most importantly, what makes you take a particular action? All these insights will clarify for you and your web developer how to design and implement the site your firm needs which will fit the needs of your customers. Remember, the customer is the ultimate user, not you. It is her you must satisfy.

Your website is your twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five overview of your firm, lead generator and answer provider—and if you offer e-commerce, your always-open online store.

And if you already have a website for your business does it gain you leads? Does it offer all the right information to your customers? Have you ever asked your customers what they like best about your site or like least? Do you track how successful it is? If you cannot answer these questions definitively, then you may need to invest the time and take a fresh look at your site. And you may need to give it a boost or even a redesign so it works. After all, if your site doesn’t work for you what good is it?

Start With the End In Mind

How can you get started planning your website? We provide this planning questionnaire to our customers. Use it. Doing so will help you spend wisely, and will yield you a custom tailored website that fits your business, and which helps you get the right kind of leads to grow your business.

Photo by pina messina on Unsplash

Planning your business website

Originally published in 2010, this article on website planning and budgeting is one of our evergreen posts providing you tips and insight into how to plan your new website.

“What does a website cost?” is the first question we often hear from someone in need of a new site for their business. Frequently the people who ask this question are those who are just starting their business and fear spending more than they can afford.

What are the key questions you need to ask when planning your website?

Our response is most always, “What do you want to accomplish?” This key question is the foundation of the development of a website for your business. As the business owner, you need to answer these basic questions:

  • Who will be the primary audience for your website?
  • What experience do you want your site’s users to have?
  • What actions do you want your users to take?
  • What level of interactivity you wish for your site? Will you provide them opportunity for feedback? Customer Service Chat? Downloading of white papers or instruction manuals?
  • Who will produce the site’s copy / content?
  • Where will the images come from to illustrate your site?
  • How often will the site content be updated and who will do those updates?
  • Who will maintain the site?

We use this questionnaire to help our clients in the development of their website. We find it focuses everyone’s thinking during the critical planning process.

Should you use a purchased theme or template for your website?

Website templates abound, and while cheap and quick, they may not be the right tool for your business. Using a popular theme may leave you with a cookie cutter website. You will spend far more time trying to cause one of them to fit your corporate identity than if you’d started from scratch. You’re not a clone of other businesses, so why should you have a website which looks like everyone else’s?

But the bottom line is that you must know what resources you can allocate to the development of your web presence;  not only the dollars you allocate to pay for services, but the time you have available to be involved. Will you write copy? If so, expect to spend a very significant amount of time writing it. This takes time away from your business and may not be the best use of your resources. Do you want to take all the photos of your products or facility? If you want to do this, do you have the right equipment to produce the finest quality images that will represent your business well? Who will produce your videos? Each of these types of content require skilled professionals to produce the highest quality work which will help your site appear professional and enhance your reputation.

How can your website developer help you?

As with most designers and developers, Charleston PR & Design works with you to provide what you need and stay within your budget. However, you must have realistic budget expectations. How can you determine what you want to spend? Do your planning. Get quotes from several website developers. Ask other business owners whose websites you admire what they spent. Ask your CPA, business advisor or banker what they’ve seen as a typical expenditure for a business with your projections. These insights will help you get exactly what you need without overspending.