My encounters with entrepreneurs are always fascinating. I enjoy sharing “stories-from-the-trenches” from the small-business Toronto community. However, I am always surprised about how cavalier most small business owners are about their existing website strategy.
Approximately, 80% of Canadians use the Internet (among the highest in the world), for you non-math people, that is approximately 22 million Canadians! Your website is your 24-7-365 virtual store-front and sales person, yet, small businesses don’t give their company’s website the attention it needs. Most are missing very simple and basic SEO tactics and unorthodox designs.
The common request I get is, “I would like a simple website”. The reality of this statement is that there is nothing simple about drafting a website plan, designing it, developing it, incorporating SEO strategies, optimizing landing pages, considering user experience and writing copy, just to name a few components.
If you are looking to build a website or re-design your existing website, there is ONE primary goal that governs all, quoting, Kevin O’Leary from Dragon’s Den, “how will it help me make MON-EY!!”
Your website is part of your business; you are in business to make money; so, how will your website contribute to the bottom-line? You or your website developer need to have a clear plan for this (for the record, Reality Business Consulting does this VERY well!).
Here are three key principles to keep in mind when re-designing or building your website:
Get feedback from your customers and professionals. Talk to your customers, find out what they like or don’t like about your site; find out what they want to see on it in the future. This is good but most customer feedback is driven by personal experience, this is why you need to compliment this with some professional feedback as well. In Web design, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach layout, navigation, copy, white space, and other critical website components – hire someone who knows about this. You can also check-out these sites: www.feedbackarmy.com, www.clicktale.com and www.usertesting.com
2) Spec Doc
Once you get feedback, you need to create a detailed “Spec Doc” (specification document) of what you want in your website. It should include as much detail as possible, including the proposed site structure, wireframe sketches, page content (using a cohesive keyword strategy), design preferences (style, color, and examples), and any other relevant information. If your requirement list starts to exceed the original scope, begin breaking the Spec Doc into multiple phases. A well-defined spec is integral to an efficient, cost-effective, and on-time project. And your Web design and development team will love you for it (…wink)
3) Integration and Goals
Be sure to consider how your website will integrate with your entire marketing strategy. What are the business goals for the website? Are you looking to get X-sales per month? Are you looking for X-visitors per month? You need to set these goals so you can measure the success of your website strategy and make adjustments accordingly.
Be a web-strategist. Be Real.
Reality Business Consulting (RBC) (www.realityconsulting.ca) is a Toronto-based Marketing and Website Design and Development company dedicated to helping small business grow. We do this by providing insightful marketing and sales knowledge, planning, execution and website design and development, on a small business budget. The foundation of our success lies in our strong business acumen and our ability to listen to and understand the needs of our clients, translating their ideas into a concrete plan of action; ultimately, delivering profitable results for them.
If you are searching for a professional and customer-focused marketing company with extensive work in website design and development located in Toronto, contact us for a “Reality Check; a no-obligation, no-charge consultation of your business.