Building Blocks to a Successful Business Web Site
by Rick Sloboda

Are you planning to build or update
a business Web site? The following three
questions will save you time, money and
frustration, and help you get the results
you want.

1. What is your Web site's objective?
2. Who is your target market?
3. What's your position?

On several occasions, my colleagues and I have come across business owners who
spent upwards of $20,000 on Web site design and development, with literally nothing
to show for it.

The reason? They didn't invest time and effort to establish their specific needs.

They rushed ahead. And as they went along, plans changed, different ideas evolved
and costly experiments ensued. The targets shifted month after month, right up until
funds were finally depleted.

So how do you avoid this pitfall when it's time to launch your business Web site?

Figure out what you actually need before you start sending out any requests for

Here are three crucial questions you need to answer before you build a business Web

1. What is your Web site's objective?

The objective of your Web site is to support your business and its goals.

For example, do you want to sell products online, generate leads, build a brand and
awareness, attract members, generate feedback or reduce call center volume?

Here are the most basic business website categories and their purposes:

=> E-commerce – sell merchandise, increase sales, decrease expenses

=> Content sales – sell subscription services, generate revenue via ads or

=> Lead-generation – generate sales possibilities, usually for high-priced products or

=> Self-service – improve customer service and decrease costs, i.e. online help center

When you're considering your business website needs, recognize not only your
requirements, but what your customer needs or expects.

Base your website around building relationships and loyalty, which will help you
achieve consistent, persistent growth over the long term. A short-sighted mindset will
limit that growth success. In fact, it could harm your very existence.

Thousands of business websites disappear daily, replaced by thousands more of the
same ilk.

A carefully planned and executed website can help your business achieve sustained
growth and stand out above the rest.

2. Who is your target market?

Before building a business Web site, you need to define your target market and
understand their needs and wants.

This is essential to appeal to and connect with those you choose to serve. Before your
website can sell anything to your target market, you need to be able to answer their
questions and put their fears to rest.

Where do you begin? Groundwork. Go where your target audience socializes. Go
where they work. Go where they shop. Observe their behaviors, and conduct informal
and formal surveys. As well, study how your direct competition caters to them.

What does your target market value? What makes them feel good? And, quite frankly,
what makes them reach for their wallets?

Your observations and research data will gain you a sound understanding of your
target market's trigger points – what's truly important to them. By focusing on these
key areas, you'll have an opportunity to make them noticeably better than the

Moreover, if you take the time to understand your customer, you'll be better versed to
provide customized and personalized service. While conducting business in
cyberspace, many traditional business practices still apply.

3. What's your position?

You need to determine what market position you want to establish for your brand.
How do you want potential clients to view you? What sets you apart from the

Your business Web site can significantly influence how you are perceived, especially
considering it's a common first point of contact between you and your potential

What's your image of choice? Trendy or practical. High end or affordable. Swift or

Your image will evolve -- for better or worse -- regardless whether you take a
proactive, reactive or passive role.

So be proactive and shape how the market views you. Ensure your business website
conveys clear messages that reflect who you are or strive to be.

You'll make a good first and lasting impression.

About the author: Rick Sloboda is a Senior Web Copywriter at Web Copy Plus
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