Many people have different mindsets about the internet. When it comes to their websites – whether they already have a website or are simply planning one – people have preconceptions about how it all works. Some may have a very simplistic viewport, and others are immersed in the jargon and complexity of it.
My personal perspective is that you have to start someplace. Keep it simple. Keep it practical. Keep it affordable. And, in most cases, that means building a basic website. Before you can talk about search engine ranking, analytics, SERPs, integrated social media and all the "stuff" that goes along with it, you need to have a website. It is that simple.
When planning what your website will look like and how it will navigate, do not drive yourself crazy with "Our competitor's website has..." Think about it, you are their competition. In real-life, just because one website has something (whether it is a particular look, widget feature or layout) does not mean that it will work for your website. Just because a competitor's website has a feature (or particular look) does not mean it offers a particular advantage to them. It is important to understand and separate what looks good from what works well. Yes, you can have both – but it seldom happens at the same time. It happens even less if you have not thought out why you want things a certain way. There should be no fear in being a little unique.
EVERYTHING STARTS SOMEPLACE
Whether you have never had a website, or tried to create your own with a DIY site-builder, or even had someone design and publish your website for you – chances are you are on this website because you are contemplating an alternative. One of the key things that needs to be addressed before anything happens is the person building your website must have information about the business, organization, products or services that the will make up the content of that website.
If you are looking for a "once-and-done" brochure style website (seeBarebone Websites), the importance of how in-depth the information you share becomes less relevant. If you simply want to have a place on the web that you can refer people to, or if the idea is to have a place on the web simply to show that you exist, that is one thing. But, if you are anticipating using your website to do more... there is (obviously) more to the story.
The most important question you have to answer is, "What do I intend to accomplish with my website?" Everything falls into place once we get a perspective on your goals.
Your quick checklist of initial goals may include:
Generate More Qualified Leads
Improve Lead Conversion Rates
Increase Awareness (of products or services)
Announce New Products or Services
There are many other goals that may be on your particular list. Regardless, the best method for moving forward is to pick a goal and give it a qualifying factor to measure how successful it is. It can be something as simple as increasing visitor-rates on your website by 10% within a specific amount of time, or it can be increasing inquiries/phone contact by 15%, or increasing sales by a particular percentage. It can be announcing a new service, product or fundraiser. The important factor is that the goals are realistic and measurable.
The starting place for everyone on the web is a solid, practical website. A good website includes relevant information that is presented in an orderly and user-friendly manner. From that vantage point, everything is possible.
If you are interested in learning more, please inquire by email or phone. To discuss a review of your existing website, or to a plan a new one, simply send word. All initial consultations are free-of-charge.