This is the first question I ask clients when they come to me with issues about their websites…
“What do you want your website to do?”
Not surprisingly, most people haven’t a clue of what they actually want their websites to do. Most people will say things, such as:
These are okay answers, but they are not the right answers. In other words, they do not specify what you want to accomplish in terms of quantifiable and tangible goals; results.
It’s important that you know these things and keep them in mind while building your online presence. Fully knowing your goals and objectives for your website ahead of time, how it fits into the overall scheme of things, keeps you focused on the task at hand; thus minimizing costly distractions.
For instance, let’s say that you want to build a blog solely for the sake of building your subscriber list. In other words, your blog’s not going to be used for the purpose of making money.
Now that you know ahead of time what your website’s primary goal is, do you see what happens in terms of focus?
Do you feel the tension between your shoulder blades fading away now that you know the blog you’re building is solely for the purpose of building your list?
Sure you do!
Now that the pressure of “making money” is off your back, your mind is free to focus solely on what you want your website to do – in this case, build your list.
More Website Questions to Ask Yourself Include:
Who is my target market?
Perhaps the toughest thing you will have to do, is to remove yourself from the equation and look at your website from your target market’s perspective. It may be your website but it isn’t about you, it’s about what your market wants.
How am I different?
What is your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP? What makes you different than the other 10 million websites online doing the same thing? You need to determine what makes you different, better, so you don’t sound like everyone else online.
How will I get people to my site?
What is your strategy for getting traffic to your website? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can only help so much. What other strategies will you employ? Article marketing? Social marketing? PPC? PPA? Other?
What do I want people to do once they get to my site?
Do you want visitors to opt-in to your list or make a purchase? If it is to opt-in to your list, do you have an effective strategy in place for doing this? If it is to make a purchase, what is your strategy to accomplish this task?
How will I measure my website’s results?
Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics are both useful tools for measuring traffic coming to your website, or lack of. However, what other strategies will you employ to gauge your website’s effectiveness? Sales conversions, for example?
How will I keep people coming back to my site?
Will you use an RSS feed, an email sign-up form or both? What systems will you have in place to notify people of new content and follow-up with them?
How does my website fit into the overall scheme of things?
What percentage of your time will you have to devote to your website, blog? What systems will you have in place to ensure consistent and timely delivery of your content?
Will I perform some, most or all of the work on my website?
Will you work on your website exclusively, or will you outsource? If you outsource, do you have the right people in place to accomplish your goals? What system do you have in place to organize and keep track of projects?
There are so many things to consider when it comes down to what you actually want your website do, that it’s tempting to try and do them all. However, if you try to do too much you’ll end up confusing your audience and render your site ineffective; useless.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that maintaining a million features only leads to more work for you! And I’m not sure about you, but for me personally, that is the last thing I need is more work!
Ultimately, what makes a website work can be summed up with one word…
Clarity of purpose in your goals and objectives in the beginning will, ultimately, lead to a website that will do what you want it to do. Which is?