Getting started with a website is a big first step. It takes guts, determination and a lot of smart thinking. We can help with that. This is the second in a series of five posts on getting started with a website.
As you’re trying to sort out the timing issues, what you really need is a plan. You need to think through what exactly you’re going to do with a website and how you’re going to do it.
- What do you hope to accomplish with your site?
- What’s the end goal?
- What’s it going to cost? And does the goal justify that cost?
- How’s it all going to work?
You’ve got to ask the big questions and you need to come up with serious answers. Just like your business, you’re going to get out of a website what you put into it. If you don’t put any thought into how it’s going to benefit you, you’re likely going to get haphazard results. But if you come up with a solid plan, you’re much more likely to succeed. You came up with a thorough and detailed business plan for your business (hopefully)—so likewise you need to come up with a detailed strategy for your website.
First come up with some goals. What do you want your site to accomplish? Your goals should be big picture:
- A restaurant might want more diners.
- A realtor might want to sell more houses.
- A nonprofit might want more donors.
Next figure out some strategies to accomplish those goals:
- A restaurant might offer coupons to lure in more customers.
- A realtor might use educational marketing to set themselves up as an expert and draw more customers.
- A nonprofit might use storytelling to get their message out there and engage more donors.
Now you’re getting somewhere. But how are you actually going to make these things happen? Come up with some specific tactics:
- A restaurant might use Twitter and Facebook to post coupons.
- A realtor might launch a blog and post three times a week to start educating potential customers.
- A nonprofit might create videos of the people they help.
Finally you need to come up with some objectives to measure everything by. How do you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t have some measure of success? This can be tough because you need to be realistic but fair. Results might be slow to come at first.
- A restaurant might want to see one new customer per week using the coupons.
- A realtor might want to see steady growth in traffic over the first month, hitting 500 unique visitors that first month.
- A nonprofit might want each video to be seen by 50 people.
And the questions and goals and objectives can keep building on each other. Blogging might be the tactic you take, but how are you going to get 500 people to visit the site? You need to keep refining and clarifying your plan with detail after detail. You’ll get those 500 people by posting three times a week, e-mailing all your friends to spread the word, asking a well-known real estate blogger to do a guest blog post, etc.
You can quickly see how much planning and thinking you have to do to pull this off. But that’s what you need to do if you want to succeed. The web isn’t the place for casual or sloppy marketing. If you’re going to get started with a website, you need to do it right. Be intentional. Think it through. If you manage to do that you’ll be doing more than getting started with a website—you’ll be on your way to succeeding.