In this article you will learn some top tips that you will need to get right before you take your business online. If you get these things right it will set you off on the right footing.

The problem is that most small business owners don’t think this through before they hire a website developer and then the website doesn’t grow the business. You might think that getting a website is going to be the magic bullet that takes your business to the next level, but as you will discover, there is a little bit more to it!

1. Understand why you need a website!

This might sound obvious, but do you know why you want a website? Have you thought through what you are hoping to achieve and what the benefits will be to your company? Make sure you have a clear vision for your online business because without it, you will have your developer running in circles!

2. Set clear business goals

Lots of business owners will set up a website, but will not have thought through exactly what they are trying to achieve. Either someone told you that you needed a website or it just seemed like a good idea. Here is a good starting point for you – Think about what you are trying to achieve through your website. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Selling more products
  • Generating new leads for sales prospects
  • Drive brand awareness and engagement
  • Help customers to find information
  • Display advertising to customers

Once you have written down exactly what your business goal is, make sure it is a smart goal (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). For example, if your goal is to sell more products, what is realistic growth for your business. Try to give a timescale and an amount. E.g.

A 20% increase in sales in the next 6 month.

or

Generate at least 10 new sales leads per month

3. Define your ideal customer

Knowing who you are trying to target will help you (and your developer) to design a more engaging online experience that your customers will find relevant. For some businesses this will be a broad demographic, but for others it may be a small niche. E.g.

Our customers are males between the ages of 20 – 35 who are interested in extreme sports.

or

Our customers are aged 30 – 40, typically live within a 20 mile radius of Lincoln and enjoy cooking with local grown, organic produce.

4. Know what your customer wants

So you have decided on your ideal audience, but how well do you understand their online habits? Can you answer the following questions?

  1. What websites do your customers regularly use?
  2. Are there certain social networks that your customers prefer?
  3. What questions do your customers usually have about your products?
  4. Do your customers typically do a lot of online research before making a purchase?

5. Know the competition

So you know that you want a new website, but have you looked at your competitors websites? Why are your customers going to choose you over the competition? Are there any things that you really like about your competitors websites?

Take you time to thoroughly investigate the competition and make sure that you have the budget to hire a developer that has the skills to compete against them. You’re not going to create the new Facebook for 500 quid!

Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO choose a developer that understands your business goals
  • DO make sure you know how you will measure the success of your business
  • DO have measurable business goals
  • DO use Google Analytics to measure the success of your goals
  • DON’T expect your developer to be a mind reader!

Next steps

  1. Go through the five points above writing down as many notes as you can until you have a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve.
  2. Create a list of goals for your website
  3. Find a developer who will work with you to achieve your goals

If you are struggling to answer these questions and would like some support, we offer discovery sessions to help you to plan your online strategy. To arrange one of our discovery sessions, get in touch here.

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