I usually ask people this question during the first discussion when they ask me to write content for them.  It’s surprising how many of otherwise savvy business people haven’t really thought much about this past ‘Everyone has to have one these days, don’t they?’

To some extent they’re right – there is a credibility issue if you can’t be found on the web, but I do know some businesses that don’t have a website.  They do have a Facebook page though – and work hard keeping it up to date, interacting with customers and building their community.

If you’re going to invest in a website it’s wise to have thought about a few things first:

Who is it for?

If you even think about answering ‘Anybody who wants what we do’; STOP!  You need to be much more focused on your ideal clients or your website will be a bit like jelly, quite nice, maybe attractive – but doesn’t actually fill you up and is impossible to nail down!

If you know who you’re trying to reach, your design and copy will be much better focused and will deliver the information those people are interested in.

How will they find it?

Just because you have a website doesn’t mean that it has a big flashing neon sign saying ‘my website this way’.  Unless it gets found in searches nobody will know it’s there unless you tell them.

That doesn’t mean you need to invest in expensive SEO programmes, but it does mean that you need to think about where your traffic will come from.

If you have a list then you can email them, but if you haven’t had a website until now, you probably haven’t grown much of a list.  If you’re active on social media you can spread the word via that – and you definitely should be doing this.  In fact, you should have a strategy to bring people to your website by a number of methods.

If you want a website that acts as an online brochure for people who already know about you and want to check you out, then traffic may be less important.

What are they looking for when they arrive on your site?

Knowing who your target visitor is will make it easier to give them what they want.  It’s worth knowing why people buy you – if you’re not really sure ask a few of your existing clients what they like about dealing with your organisation – and, critically, what the results have been.

This information will make it much easier to deliver to meet expectations and make the visitor’s journey much easier and intuitive.

What do you want them to do before they leave?

It’s surprising how many websites don’t have any kind of call to action – on any of their pages.  You should know what you want visitors to do on every page – whether that’s to:

  • Move to another page
  • Sign up to your free download
  • Read your blog
  • Follow you on Twitter or other social media
  • Complete an enquiry form
  • Pick up the phone and call you
  • Buy something

If you’re clear about this – creating the copy to get results gets much easier.

Whether you’re creating a new website or revamping an existing one – I recommend you answer these questions before you ask for designs or content writing.

You might find the Perfect Client Profile Worksheet a really useful tool.  It’s free and you’ll find it in the Treasure Chest.