When you are planning to launch an online presence, it’s important to develop your website’s content before a designer begins building the site. How the site looks is important, but not remotely close to the message that it delivers. This article will help you create that message.
1) Why are you making a website?
Your website should have a goal (other than providing information). What is your goal?
- Checkout process: Products are sold online in a shopping cart environment
- Contact form: The first step in ordering a product or service
- Contribute: Your site may rely on visitor interaction (like a dating site, social network, forum or directory). Getting the visitor to sign up and add information would be your goal in this case.
2) Who will be using this site?
Make a list of the types of visitors that may visit your site. Include traits like:
- Experience: Will your site cater to first-time users or will your content address well informed customers?
- Location: It may be important to qualify a customer?
- Income: Make sure your image is aligned with your customers’ wallet. Sounding too expensive will discourage low income visitors. Wealthy visitors may lose interest if your product/service looks too “middle class.”
Question: Will each group of visitor require a different goal? If so, you’re site may require repeated content on some pages.
Circle the type of visitors that are more likely to navigate to your goal?
This may be a good time to disregard certain types of visitors and develop content to those who are more likely to navigate to your goal.
Your navigation will be based on standard pages, information pages and your goal page(s).
The “Elevator speech” or mission statement: If you just met a nice person in an elevator, how would you explain what you do in a minute or two? I have this elevator speech on my website:
I am a Eugene, Oregon Graphic Designer with experience in designing, coding and hosting professional web sites. For over 5 years, terrytoledo.com has been a creative graphic design company serving:
* Small businesses needing brand development and advertising
* Established organizations needing printed materials and a web launch
* National companies in search of experienced professionals
My clients are as diverse as the design solutions they require. I offer professional, fast and inexpensive solutions in the communications industry. I have 10 years experience creating great designs. I have a casual demeanor, but I am serious about representing my clients.
Call me for a free estimate on any project (illustration, graphic art or web design).
Your intro can include:
- duration of experience
- types of services/products
- call to action
The homepage may also include
- new services/products
- multimedia (flash or video)
- a list of your webpage highlights. Each bullet explains the content on that particular page and includes a link to that page
- Mailing address
- Social network links
- Email address
- Contact form
- Your passion for ______
- Short and long-term goals
- Number of employees
- Experience & education
- Awards, Permits and licenses
The most influential marketing tool, ever.
Organize them by:
- New products/services
- Best Sellers
- Popular (featured on other websites, TV, radio or other media)
- Sales and specials
Identify your product/service
REMEMBER! All content must talk to the group of visitors that you circled in section 2!
Include links to these pages from each product page
- Shipping Terms/Time frames
- Customer Service
Each page that falls within this section will cover general information about your industry.
- History of the industry (Wikipedia is a great inspiration)
- Trade Shows
- Manufacturing process
- General uses of your types of product/service
- Social Network
- Business partners
4) Fill in the holes and take a good look at your competition!
Compare your content to your competition, focus on these topics:
What topics are your strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
Have you promoted your strengths on your homepage? Your product pages? Make sure your strengths are front and center! Does your competition cover information you do not? Include this content if it is relative to your product or service. Make sure it is located in your navigation so that the viewer is encouraged to click on your goal page!
5) Reorganize your content to influence your search engine rankings!
I’ve written about search engine optimization.