Perhaps you recall that now-famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, “Build it and they will come.” While that may have worked for Ray Kinsella, the fictional farmer from Iowa who built a baseball field in his rural cornfield, it will not work for your business and your web site.
Is Your Web Site an Expensive Yet Useless Tool?
Each year, small business owners spend thousands of dollars building web sites believing that visitors will magically arrive and buy. Often what happens is little thought is given to:
- What action they want the visitor to take after landing on the site
- How to draw the visitor further into the site and keep them there
- What the site experience will be for the visitor
- How they will update and maintain the website
If visitors arrive, they may be annoyed by too much clutter; have no idea what the business does; or become frustrated because they are unable to find what they came there for. The visitor leaves quickly and probably doesn’t go past the main page of the website. Translation: no lead and no sale.
Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t pay loads of cash for a tool (i.e., website) that produces nothing for you. Before you design a new site or revamp an existing one, make sure that you lay some groundwork first so that you are sure to end up with a web site that actually attracts ideal potential clients and customers, engages them, and moves them to take the desired action you seek. Because ultimately, you want your website to produce income for your business whether directly or indirectly.
Your Web Site Strategy Begins With These 5 Questions
- What are my short-term and long-term business goals?
You probably have a vision for your business and where you want to take it. While that vision may be continually changing, it’s important to have specific goals defined that outline how you’ll get from where you are today to where you want the business to be tomorrow.
- How do I want my website to help achieve those goals?
If, like most business owners, you want to increase your revenue; you may use your site to sell products or services. Or perhaps you want the site to simply educate visitors about your business and its offerings and drive them to make contact with you. If you want to create a list of leads to build your relationship with and market to (of course you do), you’ll need a way to capture those leads and entice them to sign up. Whatever your business goals, you need to have a clear understanding of how to integrate them with your website.
- How will I measure my website’s success in meeting its goals?
Of course, you’ll look at those specific and measurable goals you outlined in the first question, but how exactly will you measure your web site’s contribution to those goals? You’ll need a method for tracking your site’s traffic. You may want to know how many unique visitors come to the site, how they land there, and where they come from. How long do they stay on your site? What percentage of visitors leave when they arrive at your site, and don’t visit any other pages? Do you know what percentage of visitors opt in to your list? Do you know your sales conversion rate? The ability to answer these questions provides vital information as to how well your site is performing. What do you need to measure to know that your site is doing its job?
- Who is my target audience or visitor?
You need to know who your ideal customer is. Pinpointing this, exactly, will help you bring the right visitors — pre-qualified visitors, to your site. The answer to this question helps you determine what keywords your target visitors use to find you in the search engines. And it will help you write compelling copy that speaks to your audience, and their emotions; and that shows them the results and benefits you provide (through your products and services) that will be the answer to their problem.
- What resources (time, money, people, skills, technology, etc.) are available for building or revamping, and maintaining my website?
You have only two choices here: do it yourself or hire it out. Do you have the time and the skills for this task? If you go for a full-blown, custom-designed website, you’ll hire it out, and pay a premium for it (make sure you answer questions 1 thru 4 first!) As an alternative, I recommend the free, open-source WordPress application. Then, do it yourself or hire it out for much less than a custom site. There are tons of wonderful, pre-designed themes available for WordPress, and unlimited plug-ins that provide site functionality you’d have to spend hundreds of dollars to program into a standard site. And if you don’t want to rely on a web person to make updates to content, etc., WordPress is an excellent, easy-to-use option. Then, you’ll have no excuse to leave outdated information on your site!
Thoughtfully answer these questions, and you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward and begin the process of designing a winning web site that will bring in more qualified leads, more clients, more sales, and more income for your small business.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed and want someone to walk you through this process of creating your web site strategy for a site that sells, you can learn more about my NetMarketing consulting packages here.