We have all heard it before: Every business needs to have an online presence to be successful. However it is not a case of build it and they will come. Like all business decisions, going online should be carefully planned and considered before even a cent is invested.
Below are some of the fundamental areas people overlook when creating a web presence that can save you thousands if you give them suitable consideration...
1/ Know your Audience.
For a website to be successful it must be found by end users, and for it to be found it must have an audience to target. Are you aiming to attract local customers, national customers, or a worldwide audience? What services/products do you plan to offer and is there organic search volume for those services or products?
Before you even contemplate what type of website you are after, you need to determine what demand is already out there and how it aligns with your goals. You know your business well and know exactly what you offer, but this doesn’t mean the customer will use the same terms or jargon to find you. Often they will use more general terms which your site needs to tap into. For example if you offer a much specialised service that no one searches for, how will they find your site? You need to look at the niche as a whole to determine what people are searching for and align your site with those targets.
Building a site based on services or products that no one searches for results in a site that will never get visited. You may have to target more general keywords, that then funnel to your specialised service to catch people who need your services. Search data is readily available from Google using Google Adwords’ keywords planner; simply sign up for an account and use it to tell you what people are searching for to help you know if your website is viable
2/ Understand the Site’s Potential
Once you know your audience you then have an idea of potential visitors that will visit your site. Like any business idea, you need to sit down and realistically do the sums to determine if going online will be cost effective for you.
Calculate the potential traffic you can get and then assume 1% of that number will create a sale or lead, and then simply work out potential income and profit based on that number. Of course this is a very rough calculation but gives you an idea whether you should spend thousands of dollars on a brand new website that may give little to no return.
3/ Realise there are Ongoing Costs
Just because you have a website doesn’t mean it will be an instant success, so understanding the possible ongoing cost after your website is launched is crucial.
Depending on your target and other competition, you should envisage at least 6-12 months as a conservative figure before your site is ranking well to bring in good traffic. There is a long lead time from site launch to viability, so if just launching the website stretches your budget, you may wish to consider your online approach.
Launching a website is but the first small step to online visibility, so don’t fall into the trap of launching your website with no funds or time to make it a success.
Going online with your business is like all business decisions you will make. Do the research, business plan etc before you launch ... don’t launch then consider your next step. No website will be successful without a plan and blindly going online is a sure way to create an online white elephant.