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How to Plan a Profitable Web Site

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The purpose of your Web site will affect the content and design. Before generating your Web site content, it is vital to determine your Web site's purpose, define your target audience, and demonstrate your uniqueness. Follow these three steps and your Web site will be positioned to pay off in sales and profits.

Step 1: Determine Your Web Site's Purpose

The first step in planning a Web site is to determine what you want to accomplish. Do you want to sell products and services, find new prospects or clients, generate leads, provide information or resources, gather visitor information in a database, establish credibility, or improve customer service?

Depending on your goal, you may want to provide the following on your Web site: an email form to capture your visitors' email so you can follow up on leads, a free consultation, articles to establish trust and credibility, a compelling sales letter to convince prospects to buy, product information and pictures, a catalog, a secure online order form, a shopping cart, or an excerpt of your book.

Step 2: Define Your Target Audience, Their Needs and Concerns

Many Web sites are too general, trying to attract everybody. Don't make that mistake. Your Web site will be more profitable when focusing on your ideal prospects who are likely to buy your products or services. Ask the following questions to create a profile of your ideal customers.

  • Who wants or needs your products or services?What is their age, gender, profession, industry, income, education, interests?Why will they come to your site? What information do they want? What information do they find useful?What are their needs and concerns?Can you solve some of their problems? What problems do your products or services solve for them?Are they computer literate? What computer, monitor, and screen resolution do they have? What software and browser are they using?
  • Do they connect to the Internet with a slow modem or have a fast connection such as cable or DSL?

After defining your ideal customers, target your Web site's content, message, and design directly to them. Here are some examples of how your audience affects the design of your Web site. If you are targeting seniors, make your text larger. If your prospects are accountants, use a conservative design. Make your design colorful for children. If your clients have a slow computer and Internet connection, avoid movies, sounds, Flash animations, or Java programming.To target your content to your ideal customers, tell right away what your Web site is about and what's in it for them. If they don't read further they were not prospects . Attract your target audience with a benefit-oriented headline. Create a content-rich site that provides valuable, useful, and interesting information your prospects are interested in.

Step 3: Demonstrate Your Uniqueness

Emphasize your uniqueness to make your Web site stand out and set you apart from your competition. Attract your audience with a benefit that is different from other Web sites.What is your distinct advantage? What separates you from your competition? What is distinctive about your offer?Visiting competing Web sites will give you ideas about content, design, and features you may need for your Web site. Then, develop a site that's better than your competition.Here are some questions that will help you formulate your uniqueness.

  • What are the most important results your customers will achieve from your products or services?Why should prospects buy from you instead of your competitors? What makes your products or services better, unique, or more desirable than your competitors?

  • What do you do better than anyone else? Do you have the lowest prices or the highest quality products in your industry? Do you possess hard-to-find or specialized expertise or information? Do you provide the fastest service or response, the strongest guarantee, or longest hours? Do you offer a free initial visit, consultation, analysis, better advice, follow-up, more newsletters, or information hotlines to keep customers informed?

After following these four steps, you will know your purpose and your audience. You will be able to demonstrate your uniqueness and be prepared to gather testimonials. Now you are ready to select and write the content of your Web site.

If you are not experienced with web design, a professional designer can help you turn your text and graphics into an easy-to-read, easy-to navigate, professional-looking web site. Professional designers know which layout and techniques are most effective. Visit http://www.fivestarwebdesign.com or call Leva Duell at 760-722-0290.

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