So you’ve decided you need a website before rushing head long into buying one take a moment to think about what you’re after and consider some of the following key points. It will put you in the driving seat and ensure that you get what you need.
Your business and objectives
At a high level think about what is your business about, where are you aiming for, what makes your customers want to deal with you and not the competition.
- What are the business objectives?
- Why are you creating a website?
- What part will it play in your business objectives?
- Who are your competitors?
- What is the key differentiator of your business to the competition?
- Take a look at your competitors websites – whats good and bad about them?
- Why do people do business with you?
- What words best describe your business?
- Do you have a tagline and logo?
- What website name (URL) would you like to use – something short and aligned to the business name is useful and easy for people to spell?
- Do you have any existing social media accounts like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc.?
Your customers / audience
- Think about a typical customer of the web site: age, occupation, income level, purchasing habits. (Use as much detail as possible in profiling your target user. Profile more than one type if appropriate.)
- What is the main “action” the site visitor should take when coming to your site -make a purchase, complete a contact form, become a member, search for information?
- Do your customers use the Internet already? Are they desktop or mobile users?
- What search terms do you expect your customers to use i.e. what will they type into Google and/or Bing to find your site?
- What adjectives describe how your site visitor should perceive the new site. (Examples include prestigious, friendly, corporate, fun, forward thinking, innovative, cutting edge.)
- How would you judge the success of the website?
- If there are websites that you like make a note of them, what is it that you like about them visual appearance and/or functionality?
The website functions
- What web site pages do you envisage you might need – Contact, About Me, News, Testimonials, Special Offers etc?
- Do you need a blog capability?
- Do you want the website to display Facebook, Google+, Twitter feeds?
- Do you require a newsletter subscription function?
- Do you want a social media sharing capability – i.e. people can share your web pages on Facebook or Email to a person?
- Do you require Web Analytics for your site – tracks site performance and usage over time? See another blog on this topic What is web analytics ?
- A website is made up of content – text, images, video etc.; where will this website content come from, what format is it in – electronic or paper/prints?
The website functions – E-Commerce sites
- Do you require an e-commerce site, i.e. shopping cart capability?
- What electronic payment services do you want to offer – payment gateways, merchant accounts, PayPal, Amazon?
- Approximately how many products do you anticipate selling; are these complex products with many variations per product? Please describe a product and it’s variations – size, colour, etc.
- Any specific security or tax requirements?
Maintenance of the website
Often overlooked is how your website will be looked after once it’s launched. This is as important as the initial setup of the website. It’s useful to consider the following points in this space.
- What areas of the site will be updated regularly (for example, news, photos, products, reviews) and how often (for example, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually)?
- Who is responsible for updating and providing content?
- How often will new sections or areas be added to the site?
- How will the user know the site has been updated? Will there be email announcements?
- Who is responsible for continued search engine and keyword updates and submissions?
This isn’t an exhaustive list but it will get you thinking about the key areas to think about before buying a web site.
Prepared by: The Buzz Blog | Buzz Web Consultancy
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