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OK, So I Need a Web Site

laserLast week we asked the rather unorthodox question: do you even need a Web site for your business?

For the rest of this series, we’ll assume that you’ve decided that your hypothetical business does indeed need an equally hypothetical Web site. After all, if you decided you don’t need a site, there’s very little point hanging around, is there?

The class will recall that we’ve established where your business is, and where you want to end up.

(If the class doesn’t recall, our refresher course from last week is still available. Pay attention this time! Honestly.)

Next up is figuring out how we’ll best use the internet to get you there. Here is where we start to focus, laser-like, on the best tools for your particular circumstances.

Who Are You?

There’s a ton of stuff that’s possible on the internet. Our first job is to narrow our options down. For example, do you sell tangible products in a brick-and-mortar store? If so, there’s a good chance that an e-commerce site will boost your sales and broaden your customer base.

If you sell professional services, maybe your online goal is more about just building your brand awareness. E-commerce is not really going to be useful for you, but creating and growing an email list, winning followers to your blog, persuading any interested parties to fill out that contact form – these things are what you’re after.

Or say you’re looking to create a community of Web users, a la Facebook or, in which case your site IS your product. Maybe it’s free, maybe it’s paid, maybe it’s both, but in any event your end goals are different from either of the above scenarios.

The list goes on; we can see that there’s any number of possibilities. This is where your Web vendor helps you sort through all the options and make the best decision for your business.

What Do You Want?

A number of weeks back we discussed the importance of having a clear Call To Action (CTA) on your site. What that CTA does (whether taking you to a contact form, or a shopping page, or whatever) will depend on what we come up with from the prior section. This is where we determine what you want your visitors to do.

  • buy a product
  • contact me
  • become a member
  • etc.

Again, strategy is the name of the game here. Focus on the one, or at most two, things you want your visitor to do on your site. Presenting them with any more options will only muddy the water, and they’ll take no action.

With the basic goals of the site now defined, it’s time to turn our attention to content!

Photo Credit: Sklathill via Compfight cc