How to Plan a New Website for Your Small Business. Pt. 1

Updated 6/15– The website & contact info mentioned in podcast has changed! Use the contact form here to be in touch.  And this is new website.

Here is an audio podcast of “How to Plan A New Website…” Pt 1.  if you prefer to listen, you will want to do some writing at some point too to start the planning process.  This audio covers the text below.

Below is the form I would use with potential clients to access their needs. It is great to look over to start you thinking about building your business presence online! To have it emailed to you in word format to fill out, shoot me an e-mail.

CLIENT WORKSHEET

You will find this form is useful whether you decide to have me create your website or not.  It is the start of what will become a successful, attractive website that supports your business goals.  If you are a do-it yourselfer it is still necessary to help you get clear.   Also remember if you have the time and desire to do your own site, feel free to book a consult to get clear on what programs/options to use and clarify the information provided here.

NAME:                                                                                     PHONE:

Mailing Address:

 

Email:

BUSINESS NAME:

BUSINESS ADDRESS:

Type of Business:

Goals of Website

  • Provide potential customers w/basic info a “brochure site
  • Enable customers to buy your services or products via telephone or mail-order
  • Online sales
  • Save time answering the same basic questions over and over
  • Reduce the cost/time of marketing. (i.e. – print literature, postage.)
  • Share your expertise with others via articles

Will your site be promoted by advertising, offline methods-business cards, your answering machine, and referrals?  Or is it important to rank well on search engines for new customers doing a search for your product or service.

Do you have a website, now? If so, what do you like best about your existing website?  What do you like least about it?

“Who you are?” Is the first thing your website should tell your visitors?

“What you do?” What are your main products or services? “

“Who do you work for?” Target Market: Describe things, like age, socio-economic, local/regional or national?

“Where do you do it?” What cities and towns do you serve or want to expand into.

Image to Convey: List 3-5 words that you want website to convey to customers.  Think about the target market answer.  Ex:  a trendy hairdresser may list:  funky, youthful, energetic, creative.  Ex:  a bank:  solid, trustworthy, serious, conservative.  Ex:  a custom carpenter:  creative, esthetically excellent, good taste, natural.

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Ideas on Design Style: Can you list 3 websites you like and specifically what you like?  Color, layout, ease of use?  Keep in mind your “image” ideas. 2

Create an outline here is a general guide which can be used to determine what pages your business needs.  You probably won’t need all of them, some can be on same page depending on your business.

A. Home page/Start page
B. About You/Company Profile
C. Products/Services /Prices
D. Order Form
E. Customer Service/Order and Shipping Information
F. Contact Information
G. Privacy Policy
H. Legal Information/Disclaimer/Site Terms of Use
I. Helpful Links/Resources
J. Site Map for larger sites
K. Directions to your facility
L. Articles/Helpful tips pertaining to your industry
N. Photos (as separate page)
O. Calendar of Events

What you need to do:

    1. Gather up all current materials, brochures, business cards.  Find photos that you want on web site.  Do you have text ready to be added to site?  If not you need “copywriting,” that is your text is not ready to use.  Copywriting is the task of writing clear, customer friendly, SEO (search engine optimized)  content for each page of your site.  That is separate service.  It requires whatever text you do have and a longer meeting to discuss what is missing, and what you want to highlight. For example a FAQ page is pretty standard and will save you lots on repetitive phone calls and your time.

Stage 1:  We discuss all of above, via phone/Skype or in person (limited local only.)
Stage 2:  I will work up a plan from our discussion & submit that to you.

Stage 3:  Deposit is paid.  Work on site begins, you are shown a sample site without your info, this gives you time to get all materials together.  You give feedback and I continue to work on site’s appearance and layout.

1 All sites have some SEO (search engine optimization) built in, but if your goal is to rank highly in search then ongoing methods need to be employed.  This process happens over time and needs SEO services which I can provide.
2 Be aware that many flashy, complex sites may have cost thousands of dollars to implement.

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