Before you start building your website, take a few moments to clarify your website goals. The web design process starts with defining your objectives. Why do you want or need this site?
By defining the purpose of your website, you set guidelines for how your design should look, what navigational structure to use, and which content to include. What is the purpose of your website? Here are 13 ideas to help you brainstorm your website goals.
- Reach new customers – The web allows you to expand your reach nationwide or even globally to prospects who might never had known your company existed.
- Build credibility and trust – A website allows you to make the best possible case for your company. When visitors first click onto your site, they don’t know a thing about you. They’re looking to find out what your firm actually does, whether you can actually do what you say, what makes you different from all the other firms out there, and how working with you can solve their problems. Providing your firm’s contact information also shows that you are a legitimate company.
- Demonstrate expertise – A website allows you to demonstrate your expertise through helpful articles, tips, blog posts, and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The more information you put on your site, the better a visitor can understand who you are and what you do. Most people won’t understand industry jargon. They are looking for specific information in language they use and can understand.
- Sell products online – The web makes it easy to set up a store and sell products online. You can either sell your own products or join an affiliate program and sell other people’s products. If you choose to sell your own products, you can create your own store, or merchant tools through eBay, Yahoo or Amazon.com. Each has their benefits.
- Generate leads into a database – A website makes it easy to capture visitor information into a database for follow up. You can offer a free newsletter subscription, an e-Course, a guide or tip sheet, or simply a form to request more information.
- Automatically follow up – The web makes it easy to follow up with prospects. You can set up autoresponders – email that is automatically sent to visitors if they take a specific action like filling out a form – that answer common questions, send information automatically, or just acknowledge that their inquiry was received and they’ll hear back from you shortly.
- Reduce bad leads – Your website allows visitors to learn about you on their time. If they like what they see, they’ll contact you. This self-selecting process weeds out those that have no interest in your products and services before they contact you.
- Offer customer support – If you often get specific questions, you can create a on online FAQ to offer customer support 24/7.
- Post press releases and company news – The web makes it easy to distribute press material and other company news quickly and comprehensively.
- Have a client or members only section – You can set up an extranet so current clients or members can access special content via a password protected area.
- Build community – The web is a social place where people can chat in chat rooms, discuss topics in forums, or join conversations by posting comments on blogs.
- Gauge customer interest – You can install software that keeps track of how many visitors come to your page, what pages they visit, what they search for to arrive at your site, and a variety of other metrics that can help you better understand your visitors.
- Test new features – Your website gives you a medium to test new products and services and receive feedback almost instantaneously. You can easily test whether something is working by sending out a newsletter or asking people to post a comment or discuss in an online forum. If something’s not working, it’s much easier to change the text of your website than a brochure that’s already been printed.
While your website can do several of these, it should have one primary purpose. If your website could do only one thing, what would that be?