Know your audience and identify your goals!
We know how exciting it can be to start a new website project. The creative juices start flowing and pretty soon you’ve got the whole website pictured in your mind. But if you skip over a very important step, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Take some time at the beginning of the project to really dig into the purpose, audience and objectives.
Purpose [objectives and goals of the project]
The first step in producing an effective website is to define its purpose.
• What do you want this project to accomplish?
• What are the primary business objectives, and long and short-term goals, for the website?
Audience [Who will visit and why?]
List as many potential site visitors as possible and what you feel to be their specific content interests.
• Who is likely to be interested in the content provided by your website?
• What do these visitors want to know and what do they want to do?
• What actions would you like them to take?
Content [What do you have to say and show?]
Identify the information that your target audience will find most interesting or useful.
• Does this information exist; if so, in what form? If not, how will it be developed?
• What visual assets (graphics, illustrations, photographs, charts/diagrams, logos, video, sound or other media) are available to support your content?
• Are there unique opportunities to present your content on the web that would be different from other media?
• Do you need assistance creating your content?
Brand Message [Marketplace Differentiation]
• Describe your organization in one or two sentences.
• Describe the concept, product or service this site is intended to provide or to promote.
Design [Tone and Personality]
What image should the site reflect? Is there a strong company identity, brand or unique market position that should be conveyed?
Functionality [Interactive Features / Business Process]
Other than content, information to be read or downloaded, is there any type of user-focused activity, interaction or business process that could be placed online?
Competition [Who is online?]
• Are any of your direct local competitors on the web? Have you visited and evaluated their sites?
List who they are and what you like, or dislike, about their web presence.
• Go to a search engine and input the key words you think will assist you in locating websites similar to yours.
• List the Key Words you used below along with a short list of the web sites you found interesting (from a design, content and/or functional perspective).
• List any example websites you feel make the best use of the medium and why? Are there specific examples, on any website, of design, image, content, functionality or audience focus that you feel are particularly well executed?
Success [ROI / return on investment]
• What are the business or marketing/communication goals that must be met?
• What factors will “make” or “break” your investment of time, money and other resources?
• How will you measure the success of the website?
Assessment [evaluation of your current site]
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of your current website?
• Are there specific websites you feel are good models of a successful site?
If you need guidance, give us a shout. We’re here to help!