Taking a business online? 6 steps you must do before you build a website
Are you taking a business online? Here’s 6 steps you must do before you build a website. Failure to follow these steps could result in your website attracting no traffic, or worse, the wrong type of traffic that eats up your time with time wasters.
1. Audience Analysis
Look at who your current customers are. Whether as an individual client/group or as a business. Look at the clients who are you preferred clients first; preferred in terms of easiest to manage and provide a good margin (not the clients who take 80% of your time for only 20% of your revenue).
Client/customer – Things you look for are: age, sex, ethnic background, their values (i.e. vegan, spiritual, religious), location (Town, City, Country), job title, how did they find you, what media do they read, where do they train (CPD points, professional), what are their pain points/issues, how much do they earn and any other criteria you feel could be relevant.
Business – you can still add the above criteria, but you would also look at: number of employees, turnover, industry vertical, decision makers by job title, company Key Performance Indicator’s (KPIs), industry media, industry training, are they innovators, what’s their brand mission and vision
Where do you find this audience analysis information? Much will be what we consider Marketing Intelligence, you just happen to know but have never considered it before. However, this should be as data driven as possible so here’s some places you can go to find the information:
- Search Companies House for audience analysis
- Their business website
- Your Google Analytics link (if you have it set up and you should)
- Your Google Adwords
- Your Social Media reporting tools (i.e. Facebook)
- Ask your clients
- Team Brainstorming
- Products/Services already sold
2. Target Audience Analysis
Very similar to the above Audience Analysis but there is often a disconnect between your ‘current’ clients and you ‘desired’ clients. Your Target Audience are therefore the clients you want to have. For example; you may be attracting clients or business that just can’t afford your services and you need to acknowledge these differences so you can adjust your messaging and media
3. Persona Generation
Once you have completed the Audience and Target Audience Analysis you can then generate personas. Typically, you would have 2-6 personas. A persona is a ‘type’ of person/business.
To create a persona, you will need to group your already defined audience (from your audience analysis) into persona types. Group them by what they have in common. It is not always the statistical data that you would group by (i.e. mothers aged 30-40 years old) but often by the reasons they came to you over others (i.e. you offer 24/7 IT support so they don’t have to ‘worry about it’ not working).
Here’s some basic examples:
Andy Athlete (persona 1)
- Competes in competition
- Highly focused on a training & nutrition regime
- Trains 5 times a week
- Typically aged 25-50
- Predominantly male
- Focuses on recovery, endurance & strength products
Brian Blood Pressure (persona 2)
- Told by Dr to do some exercise
- Tries to go exercise x3 a week
- Suffers from High Blood pressure / Cholesterol / Overweight
- Typically aged 40+. Male or Female
- Focuses on fat loss products
- Buys vitamins & minerals to help their immune system/health
4. Target Keyword Analysis for websites
Now you know who you are targeting you can determine how they will go about finding you online. What words will they type into search engines like Google to find your business? There are various ways you can ascertain strong keywords, here’s a few:
Market Intelligence – again your own industry knowledge will enable you to draft a list of keywords
Ask your clients/businesses – ask them how they would go about finding you and your services
Competitor’s marketing – Run an analysis on your competitors Google Adwords campaign to see what is working for them in driving traffic to their website
Competitors website – Run an analysis on your competitor’s websites to see how they get their organic search traffic
5. Target Keywords Refinement
Now you know your keywords, you can start to determine which are the primary keywords. Which keywords are likely to send you the highest amount of traffic and more importantly the right type/quality of traffic. Creating a list of primary, secondary and tertiary keywords will enable you to prioritise your website content when you create your sitemap.
6. Create a Website Site Map
A sitemap is quite literally that, a map of your website and how your visitor will find things. We do these using an excel sheet, but in the image below you can see an image of a live sitemap.
The Primary Keywords tend to make up the Top navigation bar. The secondary keywords tend to make up the top navigation sub-categories and the tertiary keywords tend to make up the blog content (and will support primary and secondary keywords). It’s not always this way as every business and website is different.
Get three quotes for a Website
Now you are in a position to request quotes for building a website. Web developers will base a price on a few things: Number of pages, number of ‘designed’ pages and any other more bespoke requests. Ideally you will create a brief, which encompasses the above information as well as key information such as your company’s core values and vision. We can help you create this to ensure you get the best out of your website build.
Get three quotes and let the other agencies know you’re getting three quotes. This will ensure you get sensible pricing and offers transparency. More importantly, be weary of the agency that doesn’t give you any detail and promises the earth. A good website will attract traffic if you go through the above 6 steps but even then, you will need to do some marketing. You won’t be the only person in your field turning to online.
Also, make sure you choose a good Content Management System/platform (CMS) for your website. If you’re considering an e-commerce website you may also find this article helpful.
If you would like to learn more about the above blog why not get in touch, we would be delighted to hear from you.