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How Do I Create My First Website?

A Web site has become an integral part of doing business. If you do not have one, you should. If yours is not effective, you need to change it. Here is a basic decision making process we suggest to assist you in planning a Web project.

1. Identify your customer profile(s).

  • Who will be using your site?
  • How often would they look online for new information related to your product or service?
  • Does they rely on the web, print or both for information?
  • If you have more than one customer profile or segment, do they differ in web usage?

2. Define how a Web site will effect your business.
  • What is the multiplier effect of the web for your business?
  • Is it a long term strategy or does it have immediate implications?
  • Will it save time and resources within the company?

3. Research other Web sites for companies similar to your own.
Also research latest trends in new Web sites. Determine what options might be a good fit for your company.

4. Create an online Web strategy.
Your strategy will look different for each objective, for example:
  • Become a destination online merchant.
  • Create a virtual community to encourage collaboration and repeat sales.
  • Providing a portal for information to support your customer base.
  • Enhance references to your site to boost search engine performance.
  • Become an online expert and enhance professional standing.

5. Decide how your web presence relates to the rest of your marketing materials.

  • How do you create a cohesive, branded image?
  • Are the same terms, sales concepts and customer service applied all around?
  • How could you re-use your print copy for the Web?

6. What content should you have?

Determine what type of new content you need to implement your web strategy. Include in this assessment information from the stakeholders, subject matter experts and others that will affect the project timeline. Look at competitor sites and even ask your customers what they would like to see.

7. Create a budget that reflects what you can do now.
Be realistic in what you can afford, and then figure out what is most important to build. A budget is an integral part of web development. Without it you may build more than you can handle, and you may find you build more than you need.

8. Create your website team
Determine who in the company fulfills the roles to manage and update your site. Assign resources if your strategy involves activities that will need updating e.g. blogs, calendars, newsletter.

9. Write an RFP and Get Bids
Plan your implementation by evaluating which vendors and partners will meet your strategic and financial needs. Writing an RFP equals the bidding field so you know how each vendor would approach the same project. Review the resumes and portfolios of the web development company and ask pointed questions to determine if you want to hire them to build your site. Knowledge is power even more so in the Internet world. Put your business assumptions in your agreements so you have leverage if needed.

If you initially thought that you could never relate to the Internet, it should be reassuring that the steps above could be used in planning any marketing activity. For more ideas about how to manage your project, contact us at Landau Design.