So you need a Website for your business or organization? Not sure how to go about it? Want to ensure your money is well spent? Struggling with technology phobia? Here are some tips on what to think about before approaching a Web design company, to ensure you end up with a Website that serves your needs effectively. Armed with answers to a few questions, you’ll have the foundations ready for an effective Website to be built on…

What is your business or organization really about?
Briefly summarize your organization’s profile:
•Mission, values, etc
•Products and/ or services
•Main target markets
– age, sub-culture, ethnicity, social profile, etc
•Related organizations
– competitors, partners, and their website addresses

What are the main purposes for your Website?
Identify the required functions your Website needs to be designed for, and prioritize these, e.g.
– provide useful articles, blogs, media releases, reports, newsletters, etc
•Sell products or services
– provide product catalogs, facility for online purchase, etc
•Facilitate community interaction
– staff intranet, forums, etc
•Facilitate events or activities
– field enquiries, process applications or bookings, etc

Measures of success…
What results will mean success for your Website? e.g.
•Product or service sales
•Customer enquiries
•Email subscriptions
•Bookings or reservations
•Incoming traffic (hits)
•Search engine ranking

How to convince customers to buy?
How are you going to persuade people to buy your products or use the facilities on your Website? Consider the following:
•What are the key benefits that your products or services bring to your customers?
•What are your unique selling propositions?
– i.e. what key customer benefits can you offer that other companies can’t?
•How will you establish trust and credibility with customers?
– e.g. photos, customer testimonials, guarantees, qualifications…etc.
•What fears or objections might potential customers have buying your products online…and how will you answer these?

What design style?
•Do you have any thoughts on a suitable Website design style that will appeal to your customers?…think beyond your own personal preferences…
•Do you want to use the design of your existing branding,
– e.g. business card, letterhead, or brochures? Or do you want a partial or totally new look?
•What colors do you want, for foreground, background, text?
•What other Website designs do you like and what features do you like in them?
– e.g. simple, centre-aligned, strong colors, dark background, subtle design features like color gradients, certain shaped buttons… there are so many variables you can choose.

Information architecture
How would you like your Website information to be structured…what menu sections might you need, e.g. Home page, About Us, Contact Us, Products, Policies, etc?

How to get people to your Website?
How do you intend to raise the profile of your Website to attract people…
•Include your Website address on business cards and brochures?
•Links from online directories such as Yellow Pages?
•Links from affiliated business Websites?
•Links from your own or others’ email newsletters or articles?
•Optimization of your Website text for search engines, such as Google, or paid listings or adverts?

All ready to go…
Once you have answers to these questions, you’ll have the foundations ready for an effective Website to be built on…designed to truly serve your organization’s purposes!

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