When building any website, it is important to think about marketing strategies right from the beginning. Below are several web business scenarios that will help you determine what type of website you will need and some of the strategies you will want to incorporate. Be sure to see Part 2 of this article that goes over the various email and social media strategies that you may want to build right from the beginning.
WHERE WILL YOUR CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS COME FROM?
Are you an established business that already has a clientele and you just need to finally get a website? You have the easiest website path. An “informational” website consists of the basic HOME, ABOUT US, SERVICES, CONTACT US and maybe one other page that is unique to your business.
If you want to build a website or redesign a website and a built-in marketing strategy or two, you can opt for a few “extras” as described below.
NEW START-UP BUSINESS:
If you are just starting out as a brand new business, it is important to think about where you plan to get your customers and clients from. Will you need to advertise on Google Adwords or maybe Facebook? When designing a website, it is important to know ahead of time where your customer/client streams will come from.
Be sure to pick a web designer who can set up Google Analytics so you can watch the website behind the scenes and find out where the best flow of traffic is coming from. It is a good idea if that web designer can also sign you up with local-business avenues: yp.com, yelp.com, google maps, etc. Many of these directories will have a free listing so be sure to choose a web designer who can offer you these services.
BUSINESS TO BUSINESS:
Will your business be offering services to other businesses and you will rely on emails and phone numbers to secure potential clients? Your web designer will be able to help you with these types of sign-up forms and contact forms. They will also have information about purchasing emails for a “grand opening”.
If you know you will be emailing monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, try to get your web designer to add a “beautifully branded” email for you that can be easily changed with your different offers. If your web designer does hand-coding, they will be able to code a beautiful email template for you that matches your website.
HIGH FUNCTIONING WEBSITES:
These are websites where you want people to join your club or organization and become “members”. This requires quite a bit of functionality to make the website interactive with your visitors and hopefully new members. Depending upon what type of functionality you need, be prepared to pay more than the average informational website.
REAL ESTATE WEBSITES:
If you are an real estate agent or real estate broker and you want to start your own agency, there is website software available that will enable you to upload new properties for your specific agency or agents, as well as tap into the MLS listings in your area. You will need to find a web designer who can build this type of website for you.
All stores, shops, or shopping carts are called ecommerce. Anytime you need functionality on your website, you need ecommerce. All ecommerce will need to be set up to function between your buy-now buttons or shopping cart, a merchant service company, and ultimately, to your bank account where your profits will be deposited.
If you are selling one to five items, you can get away with a PayPal hookup and the use of html button codes. The setup of a few PayPal buttons is easier than an actual full ecommerce shopping cart; so if you only have a few items to sell, you may opt to PayPal buttons.
A PayPal Standard Business account will allow your clients and customers to use a PayPal account, if they have one, or they can use a credit card that PayPal will process without an account.
If you are starting your online ecommerce business with only a few items, but your goal is to eventually build a large ecommerce store, you should not be tempted to go the route of PayPal buttons, but rather invest in a shopping cart system that can accommodate thousands of items, which most shopping cart software does.
Will you just want one page on your website that you can occasionally post a job opening for your company? Or do you need an actual high-functioning job board like monster.com or something similar? There are various ways to set either of these scenarios up and it is important to speak to your web designer ahead of time as to what type of job board functionality you will need.
Are you an artist, hairdresser, landscaper or some other artisan that will need to upload new photographs on a pretty regular basis? You will need a website that will allow you to upload pictures from the back end of the website, or you will need a monthly maintenance program with your web designer so they can update your website when you email them photos.
If you are pretty computer savvy, and build your website on wordpress, you can get “training videos” from some web designers on how to operate your website from the back end. This alleviates the need for a monthly maintenance charge. If you know you will have the time to do updates, then this option may be for you.
PRIVATE CLIENT PORTAL:
Do you need a private client portal like a banking or investment company? There is software that will allow this type of website, but this information will be needed at the start of the design of the website. This requires a high level of functionality with some serious security, so this would be the main focus of this type of website.
There are many types of website businesses out there. If you will need a custom website built based upon specific needs of your business, be sure to contract with a web designer who can customize a website for you.
Be sure to see the next blog post about Build-In Marketing Strategies.