10 Step Website Planning Guide

Image 10 Step Website Planning Guide
This 10 Step Planning Guide will help you get started in planning a successful website.

Define the Objective of your Site
Is it to generate qualified business leads? Offer resources and information to your current customers or the public? Are you launching a new business? Do you want to sell your product or service on the web? Defining your goals will help shape the design, functionality, and marketing plan for your web site.

Consider your own resources
Are you a computer buff that likes to do stuff on your own? Are you busy with other obligations and a bit overwhelmed by the internet? Are you an experienced internet user or a novice? Regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum of internet expertise and the time you want to invest, there is a optimal solution that will work for you.

Make a Budget for your Website
Your website budget needs to include the costs for initial setup and design, monthly website hosting fees, future changes and enhancements, and marketing of your site. Consider what level of return you'll need on your website investment. As with many investments, you should expect that it will take some time to recoup your costs. You'll find a general idea of the costs and options we offer by looking at our Pricing Page.

Decide on a Service Provider
Depending on what conclusions you reached on the above considerations, choose a service provider. If you have a low budget and like to do things yourself, you can create your own website and have your web pages hosted by your dial-up ISP. If you want more support and guidance, MightyMerchant can provide a solution that accomodates both your budget and the level of involvement you want in the process of planning, designing and maintaining your website.

Decide on and Register a Domain Name
You'll need to find a Domain Name that is available and pay the nominal annual fee ($25 a year or less). We're happy to offer advice on choosing a domain name and we can take care of registering your domain for you. If you already have a domain or website, and would like to use our services, we'll take care of transferring your domain for you.

Consider Site Features
Make a list of features you want on the site. Do you want to provide estimates, let visitors shop, accept catalog requests, or publish a calendar of events? Take a look at our portfolio, or search the web for businesses like yours to help you clarify what your own website might provide.

Think About the Content For Your Web Site
Write a short paragraph or sketch a simple drawing of what you want on your home page and how you want it to look. You can use your current print materials if you have them, or simply write out your business ideas and plans. Think about what you want to communicate to website visitors. Come up with topics to cover, such as 'About Us', 'Services', or 'Industry Resources'.

Assemble Site Content
Gather together any text, graphics, your product database, or other materials you want on your website. MightyMerchant can create a website design and build your website using whatever materials you have available. Check out our Design Process page for more information on how we can help create and assemble your website.

Research the Competition
Perform searches for similar website businesses. Make notes about features you like or dislike. If you see an appealing design, share it with your designer to give them an insight into your preferences.

Develop your Marketing Strategy
When your website is ready to go, you'll want to let the public know about it! You need to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Add your website address to any printed material you have. Send a letter to all your contacts telling them about your website. One important way to get traffic to your website is through search engines. Think of search keywords and a site description that will help your customers find you in the search engines. MightyMerchant offers keyword research and search engine optimization services to help get you top listings, as well as other internet marketing tools to help boost traffic to your website.

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