Website Planning Phase

Keys to an Effective Website

Careful planning and strategic thinking will be needed to ensure that your website meets your business goals. In general, a website’s success depends on its ability to provide:

  • Positive User Experience – If the user is not happy, they leave your website. The number one rule of website design is “Don’t make me think!” Achieve that for your users, and you’ve removed the biggest obstacle a positive experience for them.
  • Good Content – Content is king. If you don’t have something to say and say it well, users are gone in a click.
  • Effective Navigation – Users need to easily find what they’re looking for.
  • Ease of Interaction – Once the user is ready to take action and initiate a relationship with your company, it needs to be as easy as possible.

Last, but definitely not least, your website needs to rank well with the search engines to attract new customers who don’t know you by name. SEO (search engine optimization) has actually become simpler over the years because Google has been on a mission to eliminate the tricks. They primarily focus on the list above, so that is also where your focus needs to be. Sure, there are important technical elements that we take care of which also have an impact, and we cover those in the SEO section.

Planning Phase

Where do we start?

Most people follow the Steve Jobs rule, “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.” That is to say, most people can’t envision what they want for their website. Not to worry, that’s part of my job – to help you figure it out. I bring the advantage of experience in many areas – technical, design, usability, and business acumen, which is uncommon. I know how to help you market your business online and create a website that will do that well by addressing the key elements above.

Initial Planning Meeting

Each business is completely unique, even when the product or service is not. That is because it reflects your unique brand and vision. A website is not an online billboard or business card. It needs to connect with your customers and communicate your individuality. The first part of the process is to understand your business goals and website objectives, but probably most importantly, the unique personality of your business and its FAB’s (features, advantages and benefits). We also explore sales and marketing strategy and how website can complement that. How do people find you – search, advertising, etc.? Are you a mix of brick-and-mortar and online, or is it skewed towards one?

For most business owners, this sounds like a daunting exercise and something better left to corporate executive retreats. I have found that the information is all in any business owners head. It just needs to be drawn out and I’m a very effective interviewer and what-if brainstormer with lots of ideas, so this part of the process is really not as onerous as it sounds.