I’m constantly amazed when I hear complaints from website owners that their site isn’t helping them reach their goals. I’m amazed not because they have a bad website, but because this conversation never happened.
By this conversation, I am referring to a series of questions that every web developer or web designer should have asked you BEFORE they started. You’ve heard them before as the 5W and an H. Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
But there’s a little more to it than just that. Wait! There’s a lot more!
Who is your target audience? I know, “anybody who wants to buy or sell” right?
You can do better than that. If I asked you who your perfect customer would be, the absolute best possible client you have never seen, could you describe them in detail? I’m sure you could if you put a little mind power to it. That’s the Who I’m asking about. BONUS: You can have multiple “Whos”, as many as you like!
Why? In marketing what we are doing is building what is called a persona. Once it’s built, we can ask that fictional persona certain questions and get answers that dictate what we should be doing.
What type of content is your site going to have? Yes it’s going to have pages and it might even have posts, but specifically what kind of content floats your boat to create? Are you a writer? Are you a podcaster? Do you like making videos? Photographer?
Why? I ask because the content that you LIKE to create is the content you’ll most likely continue to create. If you hate creating a certain type, I can guarantee you won’t be doing that for long. Sometimes we can identify things that work for you that you have not considered. Sometimes we can identify problems and failures before they happen.
Curve ball. You were going to say, “I plan to create my content on Instagram” or something similar. Nope, that’s not what I was asking. I’m asking if you have a domain and hosting for this site already. Do whatever you want on your Instagram page and I can embed it into a single page for you, that’s easy. I’m asking about the domain name to see if it works with what you plan to do with the site. The same goes for hosting.
Why? Different hosts do different things better. Case in Point: I built a very large community based site that had a ton of images and they were all HUGE. Knowing this, we put the site on a fast host and then put the images in an Amazon S3 Server. The site loads fast and the images don’t load down the server. Of course all your videos should be hosted somewhere like YouTube and all your podcasts should be uploaded into LibSyn or other hosting sites.
When or how often are you going to be updating the site? Is this going to be a static site you built and then leave, or a site that has new articles posted daily? Probably somewhere in between? This answer is going to be important for the next couple of questions.
Why? For some people having an editorial calendar helps. Without it, or relying on an improperly built one results in holes or worse.
As in why are we building the site in the first place? Why do you need it? Is it going to be a mean, lean, lead generating machine or a beautiful destination where people can see all the pretty things you do? It could serve a valuable function too. I built a site for a medical office that allows patients to download all of those forms they have you fill out. You can fill it out at home and bring it all in with this site. What is your Why?
How do you expect to attract new visitors? This is important. Your answer might be, “Google” – and I’ll next ask if you mean by paid ads or by organic SEO? You might have active marketing with your site painted on the side of park benches or buses.
Why? There’s 4 distinct funnels I can usually identify to get site visitors. If you don’t know what funnels you are going to be using, you are driving blind.
Once you get a visitor to your site, how are you planning on getting them to return? That’s a real question. You should have an answer. I can help you with that. For me, I have a newsletter. It would be fabulous if every visitor I had, also joined my newsletter. That’s not going to happen. I also have lead magnets. Something of value that I created that I’ll give away for your email address. I have other ways as well but that’s the idea.
Why? You cannot expect a person to remember your domain url and then remember to check back later. The struggle is to stay “Top of Mind” right? Every site owner should have a plan in place to do just that.
This is the big HOW. It’s what ties everything together. How are we going to know if this site is working for you? What metric or values will tell you that it is, or that it isn’t.
Why? Without defining this first, there’s no clear way to look at the site and know it’s working (or not). And if we can’t do that, how can we possibly make it better?
YOU HAVE OPTIONS
You can take what you learned here, share it on social media, stew about it a bit and ask yourself why your past web dev didn’t ask you anything – or you can take me up on my bonus offer…
BONUS FOR YOU: Normally I ask these questions as part of my pre build interview but as a reader of my site I’ll offer this to you. Fill out the form below and I’ll look at your present site and structure and give you my best advice on how to make what you have work without building a new site. I’ll tell you what will work, what will not work, and maybe how to do it better. No Selling. No Pressure. No Spam. I Promise!