Planning Your Website
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you plan your website:
- What are my goals?
What would success look like?
Do you want to just provide information or sell products? I discuss the general types of website goals in my article
What Makes a Successful Website?
- What is my target audience?
If you are targeting the elderly you will want larger font sizes and more modem-friendly pages
than if you are targeting corporate executives.
- How much will I depend on search engines to generate traffic?
Search engines like lots of text and “popular” sites—ones that lots of people link to.
If you are going to get most of your leads from search engines, you will need to identify
which search keywords you wish to target, as well as develop content and consider
a reciprocal linking campaign (exchanging links with similar sites). The time and effort
you'll need to spend on your search engine placement also depends heavily on the competitiveness
of your keywords. For instance, if you are only marketing locally and your search terms look like
“mytown blue widgets”, it is a much smaller market and it will be much easier to get high rankings
than if your keywords were just “blue widgets”.
- How much time do I have for updating the website?
Content-heavy websites need to be added to and updated to stay fresh and keep your customers coming back
for more. Content management tools can make this process easier
by keeping your products or articles in a database which you can go into and update whenever you want to.
- How are visitors going to contact me?
Do you want to list your phone number and/or address on your website? This may be a privacy issue for you.
A contact form makes contacting you easy if someone is not at their home computer.
- If you are selling online, which e-commerce solution works best for me?
I use two popular e-commerce solutions which are both very affordable: PayPal and Mal's.
Here is a comparison.
- Who will I use for a web hosting provider?
Web hosting is leasing the space where your website files physically reside so they are accessible to people on the internet.
There are a number of web hosts on the internet. Red Acorn's sister site Acorn Host offers web hosting at affordable rates starting at $5 a month,
and also offers discounted non-profit web hosting.