Just like every other aspect of your small business, success with your business website design depends on developing a plan. Even though launching a website is easier than ever these days, that doesn’t mean you should rush into the process. Give it some thought first for best results.
Start the website design planning process by asking yourself these four questions:
- What kinds of customers should my website be designed to attract? Whether you’re selling B2B or B2C, whether you sell products or services, and your customer demographics all play a role in your website design, functions and features. For instance, a website designed to attract B2B customers purchasing complex, high-cost business services would need more depth and complexity than a website attracting teenagers to purchase an app.
- What action/s do you want those customers to take on your website? A website might be designed to educate customers about your business’s services, to buy products online, or to contact you for more information and followup from a salesperson.
- Are you selling products or services online? If you are creating an ecommerce site, you’ll need to address issues such as shopping cart software, accepting payments and communicating with buyers and browsers about questions, order status, shipping costs and more.
After considering these issues, develop a site outline. It should explain in detail the following:
- Content: This includes all the text, images and graphics on your website, from product descriptions, photos and videos (for an ecommerce site), to articles or blog posts, to standard stuff like contact information, an “About” page, “Help” and more.
- Structure: The site structure should specify what elements are included on each page of your website, as well as how the pages are linked to each other. Begin with the home page, then outline how the other pages will relate to it. Your goal is to keep the structure simple and intuitive so site visitors don’t get frustrated and leave.
- Navigation: This refers to the tools that help visitors find their way around the site. It includes features such as tabs, sidebars, graphics, icons and more.
As you create this outline, get help from experts by looking at templates for business websites and visiting websites you think are effective. Note what elements you like about each one to get ideas for features to incorporate into your business website.
A little planning will go a long way to ensuring you get the business website you want.
Web.com makes planning your business website easy. Learn more about website design services from Web.com.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.