Planning a website that will achieve the goals you have set for your business is probably the most difficult part of the entire Internet marketing process. Yet, most people completely bypass this important step or, worse, just turn the whole project over to a website designer to handle.
When you take the time to strategically plan the outline of your new website or an upgrade of your current one, not only will you achieve a website that will show off your business in the best way, but one you will be able to add and edit content easily, and probably most important will help to achieve your overall business goals. Here are a few steps to use in the planning process:
1. Write down on a piece of paper everything you think the visitors to your web site might want to know about your product or service. For example, visitors to a school's website would probably want to know the attendance levels, size of the classrooms, information on staff members and what sports they can participate in. Brainstorm every possible topic someone might want to know related to the industry, product or service your website will be offering.
2. Put yourself into the visitor's shoes. Visit some websites and review them as if you are in the market for the services those sites have to offer. As a visitor who is genuinely interested in your product or service, what are the good things and bad things about each site you visit? Are you inspired to take action from the website? Are you able to find what you are looking for quickly and easily? How many times do you have to click to find what you are looking for? Take notes on all this information with the purpose of making your own website as visitor friendly as possible.
3. Investigate to find out the keywords your visitors will most likely search for to find your website. Google has a free keyword research tool that will work fine for this purpose. By typing in a general phrase such as “exercise video”, other keywords will come up that are related. Your visitors already have questions about these things. Knowing this, you can plan your website content to answer their questions up front.
4. Make sure to plan your website to grow. Avoid websites that can't be easily expanded to add more pages or products. A website is not static, but rather should change constantly to meet your customer needs.
5. Finally, make sure your website is easy to control, so you don't have to rely on your website designer to make even the smallest changes. Old fashioned websites that only a web developer can change do not work in today's dynamic Internet marketing environment that demands new content added regularly. It is to your advantage to plan a website platform that will allow you to add content quickly and simply.
The investment by your business into a new website is a large part of your marketing budget. Don't waste it with an inferior website that doesn't support your business objectives.
Marty Dickinson is the founder of HereNextYear, Inc., a full service Internet marketing company in business for over 10 years. His specialty is Internet marketing solutions for the small business owner, speakers and authors. Visit to see what HereNextYear has to offer and to learn more about their innovative new website packages fully integrated for ease with social networking and other Internet marketing strategies.