Its amazing how often I hear prospects and even clients complain about ineffective websites done by other webmasters. In very few of these cases is it webmasters fault...most of time client didn't have a web strategy in place so that they could guarantee their success with right tools. Usually when they get to us, they've already invested thousands of dollars on a website that doesn't DO anything for them, they're looking for a quick solution and little to no costs for repairs. If they came to us BEFORE getting involved with their web designers they would save themselves a whole lot of grief and a lot of money.
So, I'm going to help set record straight for business owners who need a website that gets results...
Set Objectives: Know what you expect your site to do for you in as much detail as possible. (How many "unique visitors" do you want each month? How many return visitors do you want each month? What kind of action do you want them to take? Do you want them to join your blog? Do you want them to register for your newsletter? Do you want them to join your affiliate program? Or do you want them to make a minimum purchase? Or contribute to an overall revenue amount of $XXXXX.00/month?)
Know who your targeting: Be very specific. Are they geographically confined? Are they computer savvy? Will they require a site with minimal bells and whistles? Do they surf web frequently? Or are they more of on-the-go types? Where are they most concentrated (what's easiest way to get to them)? What are their primary needs?
Know competition: Who else is offering what you do? Of them, who is targeting same market in same geographical area? How are they doing it? Is it working? (Ask market if you don't know)
Know your competitive advantage: Figure our your Features, Advantages and Benefits - then define your UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION. This USP is what differs you from competition and makes you more attractive to your target market.