The number one goal for a website is to give potential customers your business' product or service information. Your website is the most valuable online tool that a business can use to promote itself and it's products and services. However, with that said, websites should only be built after you understand and have a clear idea of your business goals.
Before starting your website, you should have a few solid thoughts about your website goals, how your website should look, and how you want your website to function so that it will appeal to your target market. It sounds silly, but it is important to explore each of the following points before starting your website.
Be very specific with this information as this is the key to your success.
Identify your main customer traits so you can customize and optimize your website to target them.
Who exactly are your potential customers? You'll want to consider the key factors of your specific niche. There are many types of groups that you could target to, so (for starters) try to narrow it down to a few of the major demographic groups. You probably should, at the very least, consider the main demographical characteristics of your customers, such as: location, age, gender, income level, education level, etc.
What specific pieces of information are you going to add to the website?
The most important part of any website is the information. Think about what you are going to tell your website visitors. How can you make yourself look like the expert that you are? Figure out what pages you want to have on your website and how your information will be arranged on each page.
Keep your website information fresh and current.
If you're getting the website visitors, you don't want to lose out on potential opportunities to convert that website traffic in to sales. Don't make your website visitors want to leave immediately because they can't read current and up-to-date information.
Ensure your website is fully functional and easy to navigate and explore.
Your website visitors don't want to waste time looking for what they want to know so make the navigation from page to page as simple as possible. Organize your website (logically) so that your website visitors can easily find what they are looking for. Check all of your website links to make sure they work. Nothing is more frustrating than visiting a website that has non-functioning links and won't take you where you're supposed to go. You don't want people leaving your website before they learn about all that you have to offer them.
Ensure that your website is easy to read.
Check your website out on different web browsers (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, etc). Your website visitors don't want to see the text displayed incorrectly. Make sure it looks like it should and that it's not all scrunched up and overlapping or all spread out way past the page. When people visit a site that is not easy to read, they will usually leave the website immediately. Also, make sure that the font you use for your text is easy to read. For a list of the most common fonts, that is available on the majority of computers, look at our chart of Best Website Text Fonts and Styles.
Consider your website appeal.
Do you have several websites that you can show to your website designer as an example of 'good' and 'bad' websites? This will help your web designer to get a good idea as to the style of website that you're wanting created. As you look at each website, make a list of what exactly it is that you like or dislike about each of the websites on your list. Your website designer should work with you to figure out what appeals to you and what doesn't.
Do you have a website 'style' or design-look that you would like to model your website after?
You'll want a website that expressly conveys your business branding but you'll also want it to look aesthetically pleasing to the eye. For a list of website colors, look at our Website Colors Chart. Keep this chart handy as you speak with your web-designer so that you can tell them the exact colors you want to use. You, also, want to be sure that your website doesn't look crowded or overwhelming to your visitors.
Use your website to draw your readers in.
The more interested a potential client is in reading even more on your website (and your business), the greater your opportunity will be for converting those people in to actual customers and, thus, it will increase your overall sales.