Your Website Plan – Before You Launch

by Dorina Lanza · 1 comment

in Strategic Marketing

You must create your website plan if your site is to be effective in helping to get you where you want to be. Specifically, there are three website plan questions you must answer before you start to blog or put up your site.

These questions are:

  • Who are you trying to attract?
  • What do they want from you?
  • What do you want from them?

[Not necessarily in that order!]

Why on earth would you want to answer these questions before you proceed with your website plan? Well, by answering them you are, effectively, articulating the goals you have for your site. If you have goals, you know where you are headed. If you know where you are headed, you can measure your progress. If you are not on target you can adjust. Make sense?

Let’s look at each question individually and what the answer to each might encompass.

Who is Your Target?

You must know you are trying to attract so you can give your site the appropriate look and feel. This is the first part of your website plan. You want your ideal prospects to feel comfortable and positive as soon as they hit your front page. If they feel comfortable and positive right away, they are more likely to hang around and look at your content.

For instance, if you are trying to attract corporate executives looking to reinvent themselves as entrepreneurs you probably won’t want to have your site done in pretty pastel colors and decorated with stuffed animals and balloons. Likewise, if you are looking to attract stay at home moms who want to set up a little internet business to generate some extra cash on the side you probably won’t want to create a sleek, black and gray, edgy site with tons of flash. See what I mean?

Now, in identifying your ideal prospect, remember that this should be the ideal prospect for you and your business – not for somebody else in a similar business. You want this prospect to be the ideal prospect for you at this point. Your prospect group will broaden as you and your business mature. This is a whole separate discussion in and of itself. And we will go into details of how you refine this in subsequent posts and articles. For now, we will speak in broad strokes with the intent of targeting low hanging fruit.

The first thing you will want to do is to create a generic description of this prospect, often called a “persona”. The description will describe the class of prospects you are targeting initially. It will be detailed. What do they like, what do they value, what is their style, what do they know, what do they do, what are their goals, what is important to them, what are their needs, and so on. This will give you an initial framework from which to work. From here you can go on to answer the other questions.

What Do They Want From You?

Your prospects will land on your web site because they are looking for a solution to something. You must give them answers. This is the second part of your website plan. Once you have your desired persona defined, you will be able to figure out what need your people have that you can be good at filling.

For instance, let’s say that your persona is an entrepreneur just getting into internet marketing. What you could offer are answers to questions like

  • “What business should I be in?”,
  • “What are my monetization options?”,
  • “How do I differentiate myself from the masses?”,
  • “What should my sales funnel look like?”, and so on.

Or, let’s say your persona is the aspiring artist. You may want to offer answers to questions like

  • “How do I reach the ultimate art buyer?”,
  • “How do I find people whose style fits mine?”,
  • “How do I set up a gallery site where I can sell my art on line?”,
  • “How do I drive traffic to my site?”, etc.

Are you beginning to get the picture?

It is up to you to position yourself in such a way as to be able to attract the prospects whose needs you can best fill with the lease resistance on your part. You will want to attract those whose needs you can fill most easily first. Again, we are talking about low hanging fruit. You can expand to others later.

Once you know what your prospect wants from you, you will know how to populate your site and blog with information that answers their needs. You will give them great value for free – lots of good, free stuff! You will want to post new useful stuff regualrly. This will make you become a resource that will keep them coming back.

What do you want from them?

This is the third part of your website plan. Why are you putting your site up?

  • To impress your visitors?
  • To impress web designers?
  • To impress other colleagues?
  • To give yourself something to do?
  • To help people for the sake of helping people?
  • To collect information?
  • To get people to visit regularly?
  • Or, are you putting your site up to generate revenue for yourself – to be in business and make a profit?

These are questions you must answer to complete your website plan.

I would suggest that what you want will probably be some combination of the above. I would expect that you want your visitors to

  • Give you their information so you can keep them updated by email,
  • Come back regularly to consume your valuable information,
  • And, eventually either buy your stuff or join your business.

Design you site to make things easy for them.

As far as opting in goes, your initial content, if properly designed and executed will make them want to be kept abreast of new developments so they will opt in to your email list. If you like you can give away some exclusive content [a report, a mini-course, or the like] to further entice them to opt in. Make sure you have a prominent opt in form in your design. You can continue building the relationship through this.

If you site is designed to be content rich and regularly updated your visitors will keep coming back to stay at the forefront of their field of interest. This is how you will further build your relationship with these people. With this you will be well on your way to creating a loyal following. Design for this.

And finally, the relationship you create is what will allow you to monetize your site. Your prospects will have come to your site, will have seen solutions they were seeking, and they will have grown to know, trust, and like you.  So you will want to design your offerings appropriately.

Wrapping It Up

So, if you have detailed answers to these questions in place so you can do a proper website design you will be better off than most. You will know who you want to attract, what they want, and how to accomplish your own goals in that context. This approach will put you ahead of probably 99% of the people out there who are putting up sites.

Hope you enjoyed the post! Was this helpful?  Do you have questions?  Any website tips or stories to share?  I’d ove to hear from you!

For updates make sure you opt in to my newsletter and check back regularly. I will be sharing many more details in future articles and posts.

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To Your Website Mastery,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nancy Lahtinen May 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Thank you! This page added a great deal of clarity. I plan to take people from all aspects of happiness to day to day successes and then show them how this will create a full circle of having more time to create more happiness. Does this make sense? No problem – with you as my teacher I know it will eventually make very good sense and create an unbelievable web site.
Much appreciation,
Nancy

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