As a small business owner, you probably don’t have a lot of time to research, I get that. Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve done the research, and worked with hundreds of clients to bring you this checklist of 9 things you need to know when creating or revamping your website.
1.) Identifying Your Website Goals
This is the crucial part here, so stay with me. It. Is. Absolutely. Crucial. That you have a set of plans and goals for your website. What do you plan on offering? Products? Services? How will you retain customers and engage them? These are all questions that need to be answered before any code is written, and I assure you it will make for a much smoother process.
2.) Identify Your Target Audience
This is almost as important as the first step, which is why I used Identify twice. Knowing your ideal customer will not only save you money and time, but will provide you results a lot faster if you started at a broad spectrum and worked down. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, there are plenty of resources online that will help you identify your target audience, and if you’re looking for “fresh seafood’, chances are you can start with “orlando” + fresh seafood, with variations stemming from that. You can use Google’s Adwords Tool to get started.
3.) Get Your Artwork Together
There is a lot of time wasted chasing down proper formats of logos, copy, brochures, etc. Take the time to prepare everything you have in a digital format to provide to your orlando florida website designer, this will make preparing mockups, designs, and other items easier to produce and in turn speeds up the process.
4.) Prepare Your Content
If you haven’t heard it already, content is king, and in my opinion, it’s a main driving force for traffic to your website, and the best way to keep them there. Preparing your content and outlining what you want, and need is extremely important to you to ensure your message is being heard, and makes the web designer’s job 10x easier, so kudos to you.
5.) Continuous Content
Man, if I had 100$ bill every time I had a client ask me if they need to keep posting content, I’d have a couple of those crisp Benjamin Franklin’s that’s for sure. The answer is yes. Whether you outsource, or use a platform (I suggest WordPress) and do it yourself, you need to be posting valuable, relative content at least once or twice a week to your website, and subsequent social media pages.
6.) Type of Content / User Direction
So now that you’ve outlined how you’ll be bringing people to your website, what will the end result be? Will you be selling them a product? Signup to a newsletter? Visit your local store? Whatever it may be, there needs to be a clear Call to Action or “CTA” on the homepage, and various inner pages. This will allow you to “direct” the visitor through your site, instead of having them bounce around hoping they pick what you want.
7.) Domain Names
Well, if you already have a domain for your business, you could skip down, but what I’m about to say may be of interest to you. Either way. Domain names are still very important. Yes, after much study, “.com’s” are still the most popular and trusted, but in 2013, it seems to be decreasing as more domain extensions are being used. When choosing your domain, I recommend to my clients to buy at least 2. One being the full name of the company, and the other being your top keyword, and then direct both of them to the same website. For example, if you sell cotton candy, and your business is Craigs Cotton Candy and you service in Portland, you would buy “craigscottoncandy.com” and possibly “portlandcottoncandy.com”, or some variation.
8.) Hosting Your Website
Which brings me to hosting. I prefer PureVoltage Enterprises for a ton of hosting reasons, but there are plenty of viable hosting companies that should cost you no more than 10$ a month. Hosting is a must have item if you want to have a website online. Period.
9.) Search Engine Optimization and Social Media
These two types of online marketing have emerged as being crucial for online success in 2013, and I would have to agree. However, with that being said, either two need strong planning, constant testing, and a consistent amount of research on best practices. For starters, I would recommend having a Facebook Fan Page, along with a Google+ Page for Local Businesses, and Twitter as well. Use these platforms to broadcast the content you’re planning on creating outline above to gain results, and don’t forget they are “Social” platforms, engage with your customers!
BONUS: Record then Test, Test, Test!
I cannot stress this enough, and I probably should have put it further up, but. You really need to be using a website statistics software like Google Analytics, and plan on “Split Testing” your websites, landing pages, and other pieces of content. This will allow you to evolve your process, and ensure future customers will have a better experience using your website and connecting with you online.