Web Site design considerations
Web Site design considerations when developing or upgrading your Web Site.
Website design does play a very important role if you intend to maximize your Internet success. You will need to develop a clear Internet strategy as an integral part of your overall business plan before you spend money on your web site. And to help you do this here are a few questions you should consider:
- Where are you now (in terms of the Internet) and where do you want to be?
Your web site should be an integral part of your business plan. If it is not then it is much more likely to fail or at least not achieve itís potential. So before rushing off to have Position Masters develop a pretty web site, think about answering these questions.
You will want to get your strategy right before you spend any money on development, it will save countless dollars and perhaps more important, time.
It should be remembered that development costs should be about 50% of the total budget. Maintenance is often 20% of your web costs, and promotion of your site should be 30% of budget. (rule of thumb only)
Many people find that a planned phased approach allows you to identify where you want to go and develop checkpoints to assess your progress along the way. You may not be able to afford to put your ideal web site up at the beginning. But you do need a plan as to what you want to do, when you should add pages or update to a new version of your site, and how you are going to monitor your progress along the Internet path.
- What are the goals of the web site?
Firstly you need to determine what you want your web site to do.
Is the purpose of your site to inform, educate, entertain or sell?
Is it supposed to enhance brand equity, lower costs or improve customer intimacy?
What transactions are appropriate or necessary, and when should they be part of your web site?
How important is it to provide a personalized experience?
What is the user's expected benefit or response?
- Who is the target audience?
Now that you have decided what you want your site to do, you need to determine who will be the users of your site. (Sometimes identifying the goals and target audience needs to be done at the same time). And there can be more than one target audience. This is also a vital part of good search engine placement.† Remember, there are a multitude of variations on your chosen keywords, picking the most commonly used is the trick and one of the keys to success.
What categorizes your target audience, what are their needs, and can you develop scenarios for them? If you can accurately put this in writing life on the net will be much easier.
- What is happening in the marketplace?
You should not create your Internet strategy in a vacuum. What are your competitors doing? What are the relevant industry and technological trends?
- What is the content and how should it be organized?
Now you can consider what types of content you want on the site and what level of detail will be presented. What functions should people be able to perform on your site? How should the information be structured and what global and local navigation aids are you going to have?
Position Masters will help you with structure and navigation but you must have a big input, as you will know your business and your customers better than we do.
- How are you going to maintain human relationships in the digital world?
The Internet can appear to be a very impersonal medium for conducting business. So you need to make sure you consider how you are going to create, maintain and enhance customer
relationships on-line. Therefore, think about how e-mail, chat rooms, discussion groups, on-line communities and even information can be used. Do you have an e-mail response policy to ensure appropriate responses to all e-mail?
- What do you want your site to look like?
Now, and only now, should you consider what your site should look like. Users should know where they are on the site, where they have been, and how to get to where they want to be.
Therefore, consider issues such as color, branding, design and links. Using your input we will
create a design that is easy to navigate, and consistent throughout.
- Where is the site to be hosted?
Are you going to host it yourself or host it on an ISP? Do you have the resources (especially ongoing resources) to host it yourself? What services do you want your ISP to be able to provide? And remember that your ISP does not have to be local. There is little difference in uploading files to an ISP in your city or one in another country. Position Masters offers first rate hosting. If you like, we can handle all the details for you.
- How is the site to be updated?
Remember that approximately 20% of your site costs may be incurred by site maintenance.
How often should content be changed? Who is going to approve the changes?
- How are you going to drive traffic to your site?
It is no good having the best site in the world if no one knows about it. Successful sites spend 30% or more of their budget promoting their site.
Options are many and include considering keyword optimization, banner ads, PR, links, offline promotion, search engine registration, articles in e-zines, and event or content sponsorship. Most importantly, you need good placement in the search engines! Position Masters offers a very effective Promotion Package, and expert advice on how to promote web sites to the search engines.
- What are the success criteria for your site?
Too many people simply put up their site and sometime down the track wonder if their site is working or not. If you have not determined how you are going to measure the success of your site in advance then it can be difficult to be objective. Many people these days do not believe that you can rely on hits alone as your only success measure.
So it is best to decide prior to the site going live how you will know if your site is achieving your goals. It should include measurable business criteria that are critical to your business objectives. For example, number of new customers, improved customer retention, quicker new product development, better coordination between business partners, and enhanced customer intimacy.
So to maximize your Internet success, develop a clear Internet strategy as an integral part of your overall business plan before you spend money on your web site. Time and money spent on developing your strategy will be well and truly rewarded!
ICQ #1465930 (AllBiz)