So you know your business needs a website. You research for referrals and start making inquiries. But without understanding first what your website needs for your business, how will you even know what you are asking for?
Here is a plan to help businesses organize their website strategy, so that they can understand what it is that they are shopping for and approach web agencies with greater confidence.
1. Have a clear purpose
A website is a tool. If you don’t have a particular goal in mind, how do you know what the right tool is?
Questions to ask yourself:
A. Why do you want a new website? Or why are you building one in the first place? (ex. Portfolio, sells a product or service, attracts leads)
B. Who is your target audience? What are they expecting from your website and how are you going to deliver it?
C. What will be your metrics for measuring if your website is fulfilling its purpose?
It is helpful here to define goals that will support the purpose you have defined.
2. Define the scope of your project
Now that you’ve identified the purpose in Step 1, you need to clarify the scope of what the website will entail. How will you meet your goals?
Take the time to identify all of your website needs and why you feel you need them. This should include things like newsletters, SEO, social media marketing, Google ads (PPC).
3. Identifying service providers
Do you have all the content for your website? Graphics? Will you be designing the newsletter or ad campaign, or do you need to contract those services out?
What you can provide “in house” and what you will need from the web agency
I know I said 3 but… The one everyone hides from…
Of course you want to spend as little as possible, but it’s helpful to have a rough budget estimate in mind, since it will help you identify what the agency can and can’t provide within your means.
If this all sounds a little theoretical, here is an example of how this might work.
Gina’s Gym is a new business whose unique selling proposition (USP) is that they are the only gym in the Jerusalem area with an on-site daycare. They want to set up a website as part of an overall branding effort in advance of their Grand Opening.
They think that people will look for them online, and they also want a website to link to from their Facebook page, which is demonstrating a high level of interest in their brand and excitement about the Grand Opening. They already have business cards and a logo and have been getting the word out via word of mouth and handing out flyers for their Grand Opening special discounts.
Goal 1: To attract new members
Gina’s Gym would like to have 100 members before the gym even opens and to recruit 1,000 members by the end of a month from opening.
Their target membership is parents of babies and young children, particularly those on parental leave, who don’t have regular childcare but still want to get to the gym.
The website will achieve this goal with:
- Strong branding
- Thorough FAQ of information that reassures parents nervous about leaving their children in a new daycare
- Call to action offering discount coupons and free trials
Goal 2: Streamlining Information
Rather than have returning phone calls and emails and having members fill out forms at the gym eat up staff resources, as much as possible will be available for the user online.
The website will achieve this goal with:
- Registration forms and waivers, which can be submitted online
- An updated FAQ of common inquiries made by phone and email
In order to determine if their website presence is successfully meeting their goals Gina’s Gym will:
- Set unique discount codes for different referral streams: flyer, Facebook, website, so that they know where the new members are coming from
- Include a question on the membership form that asks how the new member heard about the gym
- Set up call tracking in order to monitor if telephone inquiries are coming via the website
- Track the Calls to Action on the website via Google Analytics
The online presence services needed identified are:
- Professional photography
- Website design and development
- Facebook ad management
- Google Ad management
3) Identifying Service Providers
Gina’s Gym wishes to do its own copywriting and to find professionals for the other services listed.
Gina’s gym has identified an initial budget of 20,000 NIS for their total online presence. They have not yet decided how it is to be broken up. An initial estimate is:
- 2,000 NIS photography
- 3,000 NIS Facebook ad management
- 4,000 NIS Google ad management
- 13,000 NIS website design and development
Be wary of any website developer who wants to hit the ground running before having a clear idea about what the end goal is and how you will get there, along with milestones along the way and markers for success. Some extra time spent planning will save lots of time down the road, not to mention clearer communication and shared expectations.