Connor Business Resources

Creating Great Content for a Great Website

Define the Purpose of your website

In this segment, you’ll discover how to clearly outline your website objectives, who you’re trying to attract, the unique solutions you offer your prospects and customers and the kinds of features you want on your site…all with the purpose of increasing profits for your business.

First, what is your business objective. Here’s the most important question you’ll consider:

What do you want your website to DO for your business?

Be very specific; not just “make money.” To build a successful website or to improve your existing site, you need to clearly define its objectives, so everyone in your business and your website support team will understand the website’s specific goal.

Ask these questions:

  1. What’s the main purpose of your site?
    • Do you want your site to be an online brochure and overview of your business?
    • Will you be selling products and services via e-commerce? Is it an online store?
    • Is it meant to generate sales leads and prospects?
    • Do you want to provide an electronic portfolio of your work?
    • Is it meant to educate customers and offer information such as answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)?
    • Will you allow visitors to search your site for product options?
    • Will you provide product demonstrations, seminars or training materials?
  1. What is your ultimate business goal related to your site?
    • Do you want to cultivate more customers?
    • Focus on selling more products and services to existing customers?
    • Cultivate referrals?
    • Develop customer loyalty programs?
    • Do you want to grow specific product lines or launch a new service?
    • How will your site tie to your other marketing efforts?
  1. Who’s your ideal customer or prospect?
    • What types of people are you trying to attract for your site and your business?
    • Are they sophisticated, knowledgeable consumers?
    • Are they business professionals and key decision-makers?
    • Or are they young college grads looking for the latest gadgets?
    • Are they not clear about what you offer or do they already know you?
    • What do you know about their lifestyles, interests, attitudes, hopes and needs; especially related to your business?
    • What do they know about the “brand reputation” your business strives for?
  1. What’s your competition doing with their websites?
    • Have you studied competitors who do a great job online?
    • Or those who have poorly planned sites?
    • How can you do it better or in a way that uniquely solves a problem?
    • What can you offer that others don’t?

The Web Purpose Guideline

The Web Purpose Guideline is a tool for successful website planning and marketing because it helps you set the direction for everything you’ll do online.

This guideline clearly outlines the critical components of your site strategy. Once it’s complete, everyone involved with the decision-making in your company—as well as the professional Web team you hire—can move along the same path, in the same direction, as your site is being developed.

It’s important for your company decision-makers and others to be involved in preparing and following the guideline.  Depending upon the size and structure of your company, you may want input from the accounting department, sales team, customer service reps, the CEO and others so they bring up their issues and feel invested in your new or renovated website and its success. They’ll certainly be impacted by the response it generates, so now the time to involve them in the planning.

You can get them on board by explaining that this guideline is your resource that will help you find your way effectively through the Internet…and help your customers find you!  This guideline is so important.

It helps you clearly establish what you want your site to do…and for whom.

We can’t stress enough the importance of knowing your site’s key audience, what they need from you and how you can solve their needs. That’s the foundation for everything your site will become. The guide helps you clarify this information and serves as a constant reminder of your business sales goals.

It keeps you on course and moving in the right direction.

As you develop your guideline, you’ll have a keen focus on what should be on your site and what shouldn’t. It’s like taking an eraser and you can wipe out any unnecessary clutter that could detract from your site’s main business purpose. When the guideline is complete, there will be no question about the direction your site is going to take.

It equips your entire team with the information they need to build you a focused, profit-generating site.

To create your website, you’ll be working with professionals who have developed many different kinds of sites. These experts need clear direction to know exactly what kind of site you want… thus the importance of giving them this guideline. Otherwise, they’d have to guess and make their own path—possibly taking your site in the wrong direction for your business needs and goals.

It sets your itinerary, timeline and expectations.

This guideline serves as the project scope, so you can include it in your overall business planning and provide expectations to your Web team.

Take a few moments to look through the following Web Purpose form and fill in any information you can.

This template can be used AS IS or modified for your business needs. We wouldn’t recommend eliminating any of the questions, but you may wish to add more depending on the purpose of your website. The more clarity, the better!

Don’t worry about making mistakes as you fill in the various sections. This is just your working copy to begin thinking about the details of your website mission.

Web Purpose Guideline

Part 1: Your Business

Business name: _______________________ Contact name: __________________

Address: ____________________________________________________________

City: __________________________________ State: ________ ZIP: ___________

Phone: ___________________ Fax: __________________ Cell: _______________

URL: ___________________________ E-mail: _____________________________

Describe your business:

# of years in business: ______# of employees: ______# of customers: __________

 

Describe your ideal/target customer:

  • Gender, age, geographic location (very important), cultural considerations:
  • Name their Characteristics:
  • Major “pain” or need they have that your business can alleviate or address:
  • Solution they’re looking for:
  • Participation (expected use of your site):
  • What motivates and inspires this audience:
  • Customer insights from research, anecdotes:

List your main products or services and the solution they offer your customers:

 

 

                                                                                                                                       

Major competitors

  1. Company: ______________________    Website: ______________________
  2. Company: ______________________   Website: ______________________
  3. Company: ______________________   Website: ______________________

 

Part 2: Your Purpose

Purpose of Website (Check all that apply):

  • Sell products via E-commerce/shopping cart
  • Generate leads for sales rep follow-up
  • Provide an electronic portfolio of your products, services or work
  • Upgrade your company’s/product’s image
  • Promote membership/sign up members to build relationships
  • Educate customers and offer a library of information
  • Provide a discussion forum for like-minded people
  • Allow visitors to search your inventory or see product options
  • Offer product demonstrations, seminars, training materials
  • Cultivate more customers
  • Focus on selling more products and/or services to existing customers
  • Grow specific products or product lines
  • Launch a new product or service
  • Reinforce/support other marketing efforts (not serve as the main marketing outlet)

Name some websites that you like and WHY:

 

  1. Company: ______________________   Domain Name: ____________________

WHY: ____________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

  1. Company: ______________________   Domain Name: ____________________

WHY: ____________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

  1. Company: ______________________   Domain Name: ____________________

WHY: ____________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Part 3.  Your Project Scope

Determine the answers to these questions:

  • What is your timeframe for launching a new site?
  • What is the range for your overall budget?
  • Who is available in your company to work with the Web team?
  • Who will be making decisions and approving the various stages of site development?
  • What materials do you already have for reference?
  • What is the domain name for your current site? (if applicable)
  • If you currently have a site, what’s the main reason for a redesign?
  • Website “wish list” or a rough outline of what you want and envision
  • Product and/or service list—everything your company creates/offers
  • Current marketing materials and media plan
  • Brand guidelines (a document that lays out your company’s rules regarding use of logos, colors, etc.) Your brand is the image or perception you build in the minds of your prospects and customers. It’s the combination of the identity graphics (logos, colors, fonts), messages, tangible products and intangible experiences your company presents to your audiences.

 

SUMMARY

The most important question you’ll consider for your entire plan is: What do you want your website to DO for your business?

  • Clearly define the objectives of your site, so everyone in your business and Web team will understand the mission.
  • You need to know exactly:
  • What’s the main purpose of your site?
  • What’s your ultimate business goal related to your site?
  • Who’s your ideal customer or prospect?
  • What’s your competition doing with their websites?
  • The Web Purpose Guideline will drive successful website planning and marketing because it helps you set the direction for everything you’ll do online.

Let our experts help you navigate your small business.

Let our experts help you navigate your small business.