Starting and planning a website

Starting a website should always begin with a website planning session. Learn about things to consider such as your goals for the site, your visitors and what you want them to do, and the features and information they will need.

Video transcript

In this video, we’ll give you a few things to think about when developing a plan for your website!

First, decide what the goal of your website is.

If you’re building a website as a way to create awareness about your business, reach more customers or make it easier for customers to find you, a simple, straightforward website is all you need.

At a minimum, your website should tell people who you are, what you offer, how to contact you and where to find you.

An informational or awareness website for your business is a great place to start your online presence and can even be done on a just single page.

As you get more comfortable with your website, have more time, or your business grows, you can always add pages, and include things like contact forms or customer testimonials, or maybe integrate with social media channels.

If the main goal of your website is to be an online business or you’re planning to sell something, you’ll need to consider more robust website features such as databases for online product catalogs and financial transaction processing.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean more work or complexity, but if you want to sell on your website it’s important to consider any additional functionality your site might need.

Second, consider the target audience for your website.

Your target audience for a small business website are your customers AND your potential customers. Who buys your products or uses your services? Who else would you like to add to your customer base?

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of designing a new website, but keep in mind it’s not just about you or even your business. Your website is really for your customers, and it should reflect what they would like to see.

Consider this scenario... you’re building a website for the small neighborhood bakery you own. Your customers always rave about your beautifully decorated and delicious treats as well as the cozy atmosphere.

What would your website look like?

Now imagine you’re the owner of a rare bookstore in a large city. Your customers are antique book collectors who appreciate your expert knowledge of literature.

What would your website look like now?

Understanding the likes and needs of your target audience will help you choose the right content for your website.

Third, what do you want people to do when they get to your site?

Do you want them to contact you? Visit your business? Buy something on your site?

Be direct and specific and then be sure the call-to-action on your website is super clear. In short, tell them what you want them to do!

Just a few tips for you to think about… but don’t overthink it. Jump in and get your basic information online - even a single-page site will do.

As you have time and your skills develop, you can refine and expand your website.

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