You've decided to get a website for your business. Great idea! Everyone knows you're not a 'real' business until you have some kind of site. You have lots of cool ideas and can't wait to get it going!
Stop right there! Before you do anything, you need to be very clear about WHY you are building this site. What do you want the site to do for your business?
Creating a Mission Statement for Your Site
The answer to 'why you need a website' is really the mission statement for the site. This statement will be your compass to keep the project going in the right direction and filters out the what you don't need. It helps keep the website project on-target, on-time and on-budget.
There are so many things a website can do. If you're not crystal clear about its purpose, you'll spend a lot of time, energy and money creating something that adds no value to your business.
Here's how to create a mission statement for your website:
Step 1: What will this site do for your business?
The website is part of your business and should serve it. That seems obvious, but it's easy to lose sight of. When you understand how your site fits into your business you'll get more out of it.
What's the main thing you want to accomplish with this site? More sales? Better brand awareness? Save time on placing orders? Communicate better with your clients or staff? Again, pick one -- and only one! There can only be one thing at the top of the list.
Now write it down. It should look something like:
The purpose of the website is to ___[improve sales, sell products on-line]___ for my business.
Step 2: How exactly is it going to do that?
Now that you know how the site should serve the business (i.e.: improving sales), but how exactly is that going to do it? Time to narrow the focus!
While increased sales is a great idea, it won't magically happen just because you have a website. E-commerce sites don't sell products themselves and client information doesn't mean much without someone actually working with the clients.
In otherwords, your site has to do something for its users. What service / information will your site offer and to whom?
Time to pick up the pen again and refine that mission statement.
The purpose of the website is : to ___[improve sales, sell products on-line]___ for my business
by ____[offering what info or doing what exactly ?]______ to ___[who is going to use it?]____.
Below are examples of mission statements for websites:
The purpose of the website is to: increase sales by forwarding product info requests to our sales department for follow-up.
The purpose of the website is to: create sales by offering on-line sales to our customers.
Custom Application for Your Business:
The purpose of the website is to: improve order fulfillment by providing up-to-date stock levels to our shipping department.
The purpose of the website is to: provide our services on-line to our customers.
Step 3: Just Use It -- Wisely
With your site mission statement, you know exactly what your site is trying to do. This is a big help in deciding how to allocate your resources.
Example: Should we add video to the site?
The purpose of the site is to: increase sales by forwarding product info requests to our sales department for follow-up.
If the video is about the product and ends with directing viewers to contact your company for more info, then yes, add the video.
If it's a video about your company history, then no, probably not. Spend your resources on directing visitors to the product info pages.
Apply Gently and Consistantly:
A good website offers something to the visitor -- information, entertainment, functionality. Don't give up the good stuff on your site just to make a sale! If you take away the reason people go to your site, you'll lose them.
So, keep the good stuff and add some more! However, make sure all these pages are in line with your site mission statement.
"Should we add a video about our company's history?"
Yes, if you show people what a great company you are and encourage them to contact you. Then the page is serving your business.
Need Some Help?
Contact me if you'd like some help on creating your website's mission statement, or would like more information on how to set up a website. I'd be happy to hear from you!