“I want an on-line presence that is more than a blog. One that brings in additional revenues and builds my brand. Problem is… I don’t know where to begin – help!”
This is the frustration we hear regularly from small business entrepreneurs who sense it’s time to create an on-line presence that builds their credibility, grows their community, provides opportunities for online profits and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
The good news is… it’s possible! Yes!
You can establish a powerful on-line presence with efficient forethought and good old-fashioned planning. True, there will be additional twists and turns along the way unique to your on-line presence, but that’s what makes the journey fun and so rewarding.
Consider these 10 steps to creating an online presence and remember we are here to help! Our expert web design team has been with us for 10 years and have mastered the web launch process – from simple cost-effective websites to full blown community web communities. We’ve got your back!
Step #1: Define Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
No matter how high tech and visually pleasing your site is, if you don’t have a compelling offer that’s unique and clearly defined; on-line success will likely elude you. The answer is to begin your on-line journey with a well-defined USP that speaks to the needs of the people you want to serve. By taking time to enhance your competitive position you will lay the foundation for a long and prosperous on-line career.
Step #2: Define Your Target Audience
The definition of your site’s target audience is also an important step as it helps to determine the look, feel and content of your site. To do so, simply describe in as much detail as possible, the type of person the site (and your product or service) is intended to serve. Who will it be for? What other psychological characteristics describe your ideal client? What are their needs, dreams, fears and frustrations that you can address? By defining your target audience this way, you will be able to grab their attention with your content, graphics and navigation with ease.
Step #3: Establish Your Desired Outcome
Now that you have your offer and target audience clearly defined, it’s time to decide what you want to accomplish with your site. What do you expect to achieve by having a site on the Internet? Are you driving traffic to your off-line business? Is your primary goal to generate leads for a sales team or will you be cultivating your list with on-line offers? By beginning with the end in mind and establishing goals for your site now, you increase your chances of success.
Step #4 Determine the Interactivity
Interactivity is another way of describing how your visitors will “experience” your Web site. What unique tools and tricks will you use to grab their attention and keep them engaged? Will you create an audio message, an interactive quiz or perhaps a brief video? By determining in advance, how visitors will navigate and experience your site, you will help your web design team bring your vision to reality.
Step #5: Envision the Look and Feel
It’s time to determine your site’s look and feel – the elements that create the first impression and entice visitors to “hang out” and learn more. Elements such as color scheme, photo images, graphic representation and font choice will all work together to create the overall feel of your site. Your visual design will stem from your existing marketing material such as your logo, brochure and sales pieces.
Step #6: Data Content, Flow and Delivery
It’s important to consider the content you will provide and plan the flow of data in advance. If you’re building a content-heavy site, you’ll need to divide the data into bite-sized chunks that can be digested in small sections. Once your content is defined, you’ll determine the methods for distributing it. The most engaging sites offer a variety of delivery methods such as video streaming and audio and automatically rotating content that keeps visitors coming back for more.
Step #7: Plan Now To Build Your List
As one Internet Marketing expert put it… the person with the biggest list wins! One important element of on-line success is to amass a list of the names and addresses of potential clients. The more your list matches the description of your Target Audience and the larger the list is, the more likely you will be able to convert visitors to clients. Plan now how you will gather the names and email addresses of would-be clients so every visitor counts.
Step #8: Design an “Engine Friendly” Website
One way your customers will find you is through popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. To “make friends” with these Icons of the Internet you’ll need to ensure that your website contains text and code that will get you noticed. Because large search engines are forever changing the rules of how they find you, Search Engine Optimization should be an important part of your on-line success strategy.
Step #9: Test and Refine
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes made by Internet Marketers is that they rush to the starting line. So anxious to debut their website and start bringing in the revenue, they miss the opportunity to fine-tune the site for greater effectiveness. Your winning launch plan should allow for time to submit your site for review by members of your Target Audience, gain feedback and make the necessary changes. When it comes time for the launch of your masterpiece, you will be so glad you took this extra step.
Step #10: Launch Your On-line Business
By this time, you’re ready to present your site to the World Wide Web. You should have all the major bugs worked out and be free to focus 100% of your on-line efforts to your single most important task – increasing traffic and converting them to names and email addresses in your database.