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Website Planning & Evaluation

The Key to Keeping and Growing Your Business

More and more today we are seeing a shift in the way people find businesses and services. Today it is more and more likely that your potential customers will get online and Google a service rather than use the phone book. This increasing move to the Internet creates a situation where your business website is the first interaction your potential clients may have with you. Thus, your website is more than just a website, it is your company image.

Once we shift to this mode of thinking, the business website becomes an ever more important tool for not only growing your business but just keeping your business.

In the realm of growth, if your company website is up to date, attractive, and informative, you will have a much higher chance of gaining more clients. It is also fair to say that if your website provides relevant information on topics and products that are key in your industry, it will not only draw more attention from new users but keep the attention of old users. Getting people to come back once they have been there is just as important as getting them there in the first place.

What's Your Website's Purpose?

For most businesses, their website is the centerpiece of their Internet marketing program. In fact, because the most effective response mechanism to an online promotion is to send your prospect to your website, not having one significantly reduces the response rates to your banner ads, e-mails, and other Internet marketing offers.

Go back to the roots of the product or service you're offering. Why does it exist in today's world, and why does your business sell it? A good website communicates this proposition and the product benefits to the visitors.

Planning for Success

Making decisions isn't always easy, especially when the decisions bear directly on your time, money, and the success of your business. In order to feel confident and move forward as quickly and effortlessly as possible, you need a plan.

For hobbyists, enthusiasts, and artists, just having an attractive website might be the goal. For your business, however, a website is just a means to an end — increased sales. It's a waste of money to put up a site unless it is designed to increase revenues or achieve some other marketing goal.

Although a well-written, well-designed website with great content can make a positive impression on your prospects, the design should focus on getting the visitor to take the action you want.

So the first step is to identify your site's target audience and the actions you'd like them to take. The two taken together can be thought of as your business objective, and knowing it intimately is vital to the success of your online marketing initiatives.

For example, if you're doing a mailing for a software product and you're offering a special price, it may be more cost-effective to create a microsite — a kind of mini-website that is specific to a particular marketing campaign — and give people the microsite's address to go to in order to get information specific to that promotion.

However, if your target audience includes potential customers, existing clients, prospective employees, advertisers, business partners, etc. then a full-fledged website is likely in order.

Money Matters

You'll also need to candidly review your Internet marketing budget before you begin.

There's no need to be shy about your budget. And without this information, it will be nearly impossible for you or your website developer to determine the best solutions available and scale any projects accordingly.

The best part is that, if you provide a fair budget, you can be sure that your Web developer will accomplish all of the work within the specified range.

What Does Your Website Need? — Mapping the Territory

Once you're familiar with your target audience and the actions you want them to take and you're comfortable with your website's budget, it's time to get a little more granular.

Just as a technical writer wouldn't start writing a manual before creating an outline, and a book author's first step is to come up with a rough table of contents, you should have a plan for creating your website too.

The most popular format for planning websites is a tool known as the site map, which is a block diagram — similar in appearance to an organizational chart.

But the real issue is creating a website plan or strategy that will allow you to achieve your marketing objectives.

This is also when you'll need to consider all the requirements of your site:

  • What graphics and illustrations will your site use and who will provide them?
  • Who will generate the content for your site and how?
  • How will you market your website (what search engines will you use to promote your site and what other channels will you use to drive traffic to it)?
  • When do you need to have your website up-and-running?
  • If your site will be an e-commerce site, you'll need to determine the product catalogue, payment gateway, processing provider, and delivery options you'll use.
  • What platform will be used for making your website (ASP, PHP, .NET, etc.)?
  • Will you need to host your website on a special server (Apache, IIS, Tomcat, etc.)?
  • Who will handle your site's maintenance, hosting, and domain name management?

I wish I could say this is a comprehensive list, but there is no shortage of considerations when it comes to planning a successful website. But the more planning you do in advance, the easier the development process will be and the more certain you can be of your website's success.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you're considering building a new website, we advise you to hire someone to work on the overall strategy and website architecture with you, to make sure the overall concept and navigation is well thought out. Who you hire for this consultation need not be your ultimate Web developer… In fact, it's probably better if they're not.

When you're ready for a partner to help you plan your online success, Kethyr Solutions is ready to help! By hiring us as your website consultants, you and your marketing team will be gaining the professional and objective help you need to map out the content and scope of your website, determine your site's technical requirements, and help formulate a marketing strategy to ensure your site's success.

Our website development and Internet marketing professionals have the breadth of knowledge necessary to help you plan your site from the beginning and make sure it achieves the ends you desire.

Contact us for more information or call Kethyr Solutions toll-free at 888-538-4971.

Do You Have a Website That's Not Living Up to Your Expectations?

If you already have a website that's not meeting your business' goals, Kethyr Solutions can thoroughly evaluate your site and your Internet marketing strategy.

Our website development and Internet marketing professionals can conduct a thorough review of your site's content, coding, search engine rankings, how it ties into your other Internet marketing initiatives, and your competitors' sites to provide you an actionable, step-by-step report of how you can help your site stand out from the crowd and meet your goals and expectations.

Contact Kethyr Solutions today for more information or call us toll-free at 888-538-4971.

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