Websites that KISS (and tell)

Websites that KISS (and tell)

Removing the anxiety from small business websites

by Laura B. Poindexter

I think websites are the most frustrating aspect of marketing for most small business owners (internet businesses excluded). When in doubt – Keep It Simple Sister. There is so much possibility on the web along with so much to know and so many acronyms. I often find clients I consult frustrated or overwhelmed by the thought of their websites. I’m here to tell you that websites are your friend and they don’t have to be that complicated. First, you must decide on the purpose of your website. Is it purely informational, like an online brochure? Are you collecting contact information from interested parties? Do you have a schedule or calendar of events you want to make public? Are you selling something directly to consumers?

Before you decide on the purpose of your site, ask yourself what you want visitors to do? Is there an action you want them to take or is there information you want them to read? The answer to that question and how it fits into your overall marketing plan will lead you in the direction for your site.

Once you have decided on the purpose of your site, you can begin to sketch out a plan based on some goals. Be realistic with your goals, but also make sure they fit into your overall business plan. Selling 1,000 items on your site in the first month may not be realistic if you don’t have that kind of web traffic or the advertising budget to attract the web traffic necessary to support those sales.

After setting some goals, you can set up a plan for your site to coincide with those goals. I like to develop sites with my clients in phases. When a goal is reached, we move to the next phase. This ensures that the business supports the expansion. It doesn’t make good business sense to invest $10,000 in a shopping cart system and web site that can support 1,000 products when you haven’t even sold one product. Obviously these goals and phases should be consistent with your entire marketing strategy and overall business plan.

Finally, find a web professional to help you who shares your vision and can get the job done. Please don’t bargain shop in this area, it will cost you in the long run. However, having a basic plan of what you want your website to do and how you see it evolving over time will help you in finding the right web professional to assist with your site.

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