You know what they say about failing to plan…
“The most important factor determining whether or not your website succeeds depends on how effectively you planned for success.”
(Someone important and then lots of important people after them)
Sounds simple right?
Well we’ve all been on a site that looked like it was stuck in a time warp, took you to non-existent pages, or was there one week and gone the next.
That is because a successful website is first built in the mind, not on the web.
There are over 9 billion websites on the internet with thousands more going live each day. So naturally getting noticed is going to take some effort – both on your part, and on your designer/developers part.
Are you Ready for a Website?
Do you have:
- a goal,
- a purpose
- and a firm understanding of your meaningful transactions for your website project?
If yes, you’re a winner already, pass go and call Ben & Sam!
When you define your goals you’ll find your purpose. Then take steps aligned with this purpose to get to your goals. The crucial link, however, is your website visitors and whether they are taking steps towards achieving your goals too?
It’s all about leverage!
So, let’s get started…TAKE NOTES!
Create a Website Business Plan
If you plan to make money from your website it should be treated like a business from day one. You want something to show for your time and money, not just another pretty failure to add to the statistic.
This means creating a business plan. It doesn’t have to be hugely complex but, trust us, it can save a lot of headaches down the track and make adjustments for growth and change a much more fulfilling experience!
A simple and focused website business plan should state the following (and mostly in point form to avoid any brain explosions or urges to ‘file it’ never to be seen again!):
- Business Mission Statement
This should state your main objectives. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to create a content site or an eCommerce store? What meaningful transactions or actions do you want your visitors to take on you website to move them to beginning a customer, and a repeat customer? Ensuring your visitors take action will determine the success of your website.
Here’s an example:
“The objective is to create a user friendly e-commerce site where clients can place screen-printing orders at any time. The goal is to turn one time purchasers into regular clients. We will do this by promoting special deals via our website and website email newsletters.”
- Define your Audience
Many sites fail to take into consideration who will actually be using the website. How can you design an effective website if you don’t know who is going to visit it? Defining the user experience up front will help you establish a clear understanding of your audience, and this could lead to an understanding of how users will react to your website.
- What makes you Different?
Are you selling something? Are you offering a unique service? What is the motivation for somebody to come to your site for the very first time and will they come back?
- Expected Revenues
Calculate the revenues you may be able to acquire. Don’t assume you will make a lot of money you first few months unless you intend to invest heavily in marketing. Be realistic and stay focused on your initial objectives. Building a successful website is often a work in progress, sometimes spread over a 1-3 year plan.
- Expected Expenses
Some of the fixed expenses you will face are things such as web hosting, and a domain name. Some variable costs are your marketing budget.
- Details of Operations
Decide what you think you can do yourself during the website design and development process. Do you want to write your own content? Take your own photographs? Or do you want to leave it all to the professionals, knowing they’ll do it with creativity, integrity and experience – all according to your direction of course!
Small things such as a note book full of your ‘to-do lists’ can help keep you on top of all your tasks when your memory fails you. It’s also a fulfilling reward to look back and see what you have accomplished so far! This is a good thing to keep you focused and motivated.
Quick! Get that idea down now!
If you are still awake…and you Website Business Plan has successfully survived the filing cabinet, then you should probably get in touch with Ben & Sam and get this winning project STARTED!