Company Web Series #1 – The Necessary Planning Steps For a New Website
By Rock Paper Simple // March 20, 2012
Everything you need to know to get started
A website is a website, right? Well that depends on if you plan on that website being an investment and an asset to your company or a dead weight.
A website is a website, right? Well that depends on if you plan on that website being an investment and an asset to your company or a dead weight. If all your company is looking for is a tax write-off and to get the marketing department to stop complaining you don’t have a website, then maybe a static website that looks like it is from the early 90’s and drives no traffic or leads will do just fine. However, for the rest of you that are looking to spend those hard-earned dollars on something that will not only build our brand, but garner visibility, increase trust and ultimately drive more sales… not all websites are created equal.
To ensure you end up with a powerful addition to your company’s marketing and do not waste your marketing budget, be sure to think about the following planning stages before embarking upon the journey towards a new website presence.
What do you want to achieve?
Start with clear and concise goals. Every dollar you are going to spend on your website and any subsequent internet marketing should be planned in advance and put to work to achieve these goals. Decide why you want a web presence and how it is going to help you and your company before moving forward. This will greatly determine how the site is built and the resources required for its production. There are many reasons to put up a website for your company, but decide what those reasons are up front and decide which is the most important. Below are a few example reasons many of you may be thinking about getting a website. Take note that some of these are directly tied to one another.
- To increase sales and/or increase leads for your sales team.
- To provide company information for prospects.
- To increase brand trust through a visually pleasing and informative website.
- To increase brand exposure by having a website that is searchable.
- To create a method to stay in touch with clients.
- To provide an online e-commerce platform to sell product.
- T0 create a platform to utilize social media.
And of course there is always the classic reason… “To be awesome”. It’s true! Some people just want to be on the cutting edge. If that is your reason, be honest about it because that will affect how you build your website.
Once you have decided what your goals are, you should discuss with your web developer or agency how best to achieve those goals with your website. Of course in the next section I will be providing you with some of that information.
How will you achieve those goals?
Once you have decided what your goals are, you need to consider how you are going to achieve those goals. What will you need? If you were planning to climb Mount Everest, you would first pick out the proper tools… perhaps some rope, ice picks, food, water, a tent, warm clothing, flares, a medical kit just in case… you get the point. Once you have your goals, you will have to decide what you need to achieve those goals.
Once you have your goals, you will have to decide what you need to achieve those goals.
If your website is all about generating leads, then it needs solid call to actions and clear product benefits. If your website is going to sell online, it needs an online store. If your website is going to build brand trust, it needs to be visually pleasing and cannot appear cheap. If your website needs to display alot of images, then it needs a photo gallery. If your website is a platform for a social media campaign, then it needs to be well integrated with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and the like. And maybe your website needs all of those things.
How do you know what you need? You might be able to figure out much of this on your own, but don’t be afraid to ask your web developer or agency. They can help you pick out exactly what you need and what you don’t if you communicate your goals clearly with them… and in most cases if you are working with them to build your website this initial consultation is free… it is part of the website cost.
Building the site!
Now that you have goals set and you fully understand what you need for your particular website, you can move forward with confidence and be sure that you will get what you and your company need. The most common problem-area in web development is miscommunication between the client and developer. This can be avoided if the developer listens to their client and makes educated suggestions based on the clients needs. Make sure you always communicate clearly your goals and needs and the development process of your website will be much smoother.
The next installment in our company web series:
Important Visual and Layout Elements of a Website
Written by Joshua Adams at Rock Paper Simple
Joshua lives and breathes web development and internet marketing and is passionate about not only providing quality service, but also educating fellow business owners about internet marketing and web presence.