Moving your business to the Internet requires the same planning and attention that you would give to any other business decision. While no one can guarantee success, answering a few key questions before start can improve your chances of a successful move online.

What is the main purpose of the website?

Rank your reasons for building the website:

Rank

Reason

Rank

Reason

 

Product information

 

Build a brand name

 

Customer feedback

 

Customer service & support

 

Customer education

 

Online sales

 

Online Sales

What is my budget?

There is an old saying in the automobile racing industry, "speed costs money." How fast do you want to go?

Website costs range from $700 to $1500 for a simple site, to over $10,000 for a complex site with online sales. While this may seem like a lot, compare it with a "bricks and mortar" store. Remember, your ROI (return on investment) for an online store can be significantly higher than its "bricks and mortar" counterpart.

Which brings us to the next question, which is often overlooked.

How will I measure my website's success?

Two metrics that are gaining popularity are "viewing time" and "bounce rate". That is, how long did a potential customer view a page before moving on. And, did they go to another page on your site or "bounce'" to a different site.

For sites that are not selling products online, these measurement are crucial in helping to determine the success of the site. For online stores, they can be used to determine why user visits are not leading to sales. This is called the "conversion rate".

By dividing the total number of individuals visiting your site, called "unique views", by the actual number of sales, or "leads generated", you can determine your site's conversion rate. A conversion rate of 1% to 2% is considered average.

How will customers find my site?

The old adage "know your customer", still applies online. Most online users will try a search engine to find information on a new product or service, but which search engine will they use? And what search terms will they use?

The process of optimizing your site for the right key words is called "search engine optimization" or SEO. It is a major component of any web page design. SEO is an ongoing process which starts with a well designed site, and continues with constant updates.

How will I update my site?

For any website, "content is king". Regular updates, at least every two months, will keep potential customers coming back to your site. A content management system or CMS allows you to do simple updates on prices or page content, without having to know any HTML code.