STEP 1: Define the Purpose & Objectives (Updated 2021)
There are various steps to build a website. But more than the technical steps, you have to first start with the ideas and the goals that you want to make into a reality through this website.
This may sound like an easy point to make, but before you head into designing your website, you must clearly have a purpose for your website first.
Besides knowing the industry and defining a content strategy, you also have to think about a unique selling point and how you are gonna be unique and different among all of your competitors. If you have already made the decision that you are going to make a website just to make a profit or raise your own profile, people will see through it and they will not think that your website is valuable to them or worth visiting.
Make sure to create a brand that is authentic and engaging for all of the people that will have the chance to view your website.
There are different types of websites according to their purposes. How can you choose the purpose of your website?
The main questions to consider are: 1) What do you want to achieve with your website?
2) What should a viewer expect to get from your website?
Let’s start with the first question.
What do you want to achieve with your website?
If you want to use your site to advertise a product or service
Website advertising is not just about the visuals, but it really is about the user interface and interaction, and how great they think the interaction is.
Although your website is about advertising, make it useful and beneficial for the reader. Think in their perspective. You want to help answer a question or concern or issue that they have, not just to blindly push a product or service on them.
You can’t just hand out flyers or ads and get a number of people to look and contact your website. You have to either push and publicize your website in various ways, such as forum posts, Quora, review boards, and blog posts on other popular sites within your niche. Consider this as well and understand that you will have to make room in your budget of money and time to promote your website.
Another way to use sites for advertising is to create a website that does business to business sales. For this purpose, you can have your product catalog up on your business website that has up to date information on pricing, product photos, descriptions. Try to make the website simple, because there will be a lot of data that businesses will have to filter through so a strong organizational system of information would be beneficial.
If you want to use your site to provide customer support
A website can be for the purpose of providing great customer support online to technological issues. You want to utilize plugins that allow for real-time and off-line customer support for those that come to your site looking for help. This kind of website requires a lot of manpower to be available to answer the customer support requests. In the perspective of the client, there is nothing worse than asking an urgent question and not getting a quick reply back.
But if your website is one that promotes a service or is centered upon actually giving support to your current clients or prospective clients, this is a good format to have.
If you want to use your site to convert prospects
There is also prospect generation, where the point of the website is to convert viewers into prospects or potential clients by conversing with them about their issues and giving them the solutions that they are looking for. The key to conversion here is information. You want to set up your website to have ways to gather their contact information, so that you can continue to update them and keep your brand/store in their minds, even if they are not ready to buy yet.
One of the best examples of direct sales websites is actually Shopify. Shopify is an e-commerce platform that takes a store and converts it into a website and an online shop in a matter of minutes.
If you want to use your site to educate or inform
Lastly, another popular and common purpose of websites would be to teach and host classes and workshops. These can be done as a free workshop / course or as a paid subscription, or as paid per course. There are many options for monetization with a course-based website.
You might not want to monetize your website and want to focus on providing great information for free. When you educate people on a certain topic that you are an expert or knowledgeable in, that will create better brand trust between you and the client. Providing information that is timely, accurate, useful, and sought after will help with the website’s SEO and search result page ranking (ranking in SERP’s).
What should a viewer expect to get from your website?
In thinking about the purpose of your website and how you want it to be structured, think from the viewer or the audience’s perspective. What you think may be a great site might not be the same for the ones actually using and visiting your website.
A website has to be appealing and useful to the users. Think about a website that is slow, unappealing (ugly, even!), and void of any substance in content. Would you bookmark that website or would you quickly exit, as soon as you can?
Now that you have thought about the purpose and objectives of your website, you are ready to move ont o the next step.