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setting up a website - should you have one?

If you are reading this article, it's pretty certain you do need a website.

These days most customers and prospects expect you to have a website. It's almost become a sign of the legitimacy of your business.

As well, a very high percentage of people do search for information on products and services online (97% of web users) even if they then visit the shop to purchase. So why shouldn't it be your service and product they find on your website and your service or product they buy? In fact nearly 60% of New Zealand shoppers shop online (Neilson 2012).

Before you embark selecting a designer and building your website it's helpful to determine your business goals and the goals for your website.

The main goal of your website should be to build or improve your business (not just to build a beautiful website!). So decide whether you want to sell more product, launch a new product line, grow your membership, offer new services, collect donations and fees and/or establish yourself as the expert in your area. All or any of these are possible and can be achieved successfully through your website.

Next to consider are your customers and prospects and what they are looking for. A common mistake businesses make is not putting yourself in your customer's shoes and considering what they are looking for. It's easy to focus on yourself and easy to try to be all things to all people. Frankly, the length of time you've been in business and your mission statement are not the first things your prospect looks for - they look for what's in it for them!

You have only a few seconds to grap your prospect, so make sure your home page addresses your customer's and prospect's interests and grabs their attention.

Once you've got your goals and customers clear, then you need to think about your budget. Web design companies have been around now for over a decade but costs and value still varies widely. It's a bit like the difference between a Mini and a Rolls Royce. It depends on the number of pages, the complexity, the interactivitiy, the security, the ease of updating, the discussion forums and blogs, newsletters and, of course, the experience and skill of the developer/designer.

And, don't forget to take into account not just the build and launch but the marketing and updating of your website.

There are several other things to consider:

the content - who's going to write the content? Poor content is a pretty expensive mistake to make - you need the right words to make people take action.

your domain name - is it important? Read more here.

updating - how often to do this. Check out our article about this here.

how do people find your site. Website promotion, search engine optimisation, email marketing, blogs and social media (for example Pinterest and Facebook) are all avenues to explore.

how to find out if your site is successful. Keep an eye on your website statistics, the traffic to your site and the number of products (for example) you are selling. Review your business goals against these.

Developing a website can seem a little daunting to begin with, but just come up with a plan and approach it step by step!

If you would like assistance in developing your website or a review of your current website, give us a call on 04 212 6160.

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