I’ve registered my domain. I’m ready to build my site and make money. What do I do now?
So you’ve purchased your new website domain and you’re ready to build your site. Or are you? “Just” having a website and domain are not enough to drive visits, leads, or sales. There are other components in the digital lifecycle that must be considered.
The internet has made starting a business possible for everyone. And every day new entrepreneurs decide to take the leap and go into business, publishing a website that acts as their virtual headquarters. But before an entrepreneur invests any capital into designing a website, there must first be a clear understanding of what a website is and what purpose that website serves.
Understanding Website Fundamentals
Not everyone who starts a business online understands what the purpose of their website is. However, every successful business owner or marketing professional can answer that fundamental question— what purpose does my website serve?
Let’s start with the basics to understand why this is so important. At its most basic, a website is an internet-browsable digital property or digital asset that hosts one or more pages of content. It is crucial to understand the website as a collection of content because this content helps search engines and, most importantly, people, first find the website, and then take action.
Fundamentally, content is the lifeblood of any site looking to drive consumer engagement as content both shapes a user’s perception and experience, and encourages them to click. As a result, before designing a web site, the business first needs a clear vision of what content will be required to drive engagement and action.
In order to form a sound content strategy, the business first needs to ask itself the following:
1. Who is the business targeting?
By understanding who your target audience is, you can better determine how to deliver value to them, how you can best engage them with language and visuals, and what you need to offer to drive engagement and clicks.
You do this by providing an:
Offer: Understand what you have to offer your target (be able to clearly state what your product or service does).
Promise: Promise your target something of value to them (“more this” “better that”).
2. What does the business need to achieve?
Understanding your business goals allows you to focus your content on driving users towards these goals.
Here are some examples:
Awareness: Does the company want to build awareness? This is perhaps the first crucial step for a new online business. If the product or service is new to an industry it needs to make people aware it exists. The business needs to demonstrate that it offers value to its prospective customers.
Retention: Once a business is established, does the business want to retain its clients to grow loyalty and promote advocacy?
Profit: Is the goal to increase revenue or decrease cost? A website can have a fundamental impact on the bottom line through the alignment of sales efforts and marketing initiatives, along with the optimization of conversion funnels and other calls to action (CTAs), all of which shape the content of your website.
3. How does my website fit into my existing business model?
The content and function of the site will rely heavily on what other channels the business operates in. For example, there will be differences based on whether the business operates primarily online or at physical locations. Perhaps the business is selling a product or service, perhaps it’s an information or news source, and perhaps it drives people to download an app or visit a real-world location. Each of these criteria leads to different business goals, different content, and different calls to action.
By answering these questions, a business will gain insight into how they need to tailor the content of the site, ultimately leading to a relevant and engaging user experience for visitors who reach a specific website landing page.
Starting the machine and getting momentum
With the strategic foundation set by answering the questions above, you’re now ready to start shaping the content of your website. The first priority now is to consider the homepage and any other landing pages which may act as a user’s first click into your site. How will you capture those users on each landing page? Given this entry point and the channel that brought the user to that page, what information and CTA needs to be on each landing page to drive engagement?
You’ll find a framework for answering just these questions (along with a number of homepage and landing page examples) in our free Effective Landing Pages book.
Now that you’re ready to take the first steps with your website, download Effective Landing Pages and ensure you have the foundation to continually attract and grow your customer base.