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CSC 111 - Advanced HTML

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Prepared by Rob Higgins - Parkland College

The first and most important step in creating a web site is planning. We believe that we can work more efficiently if we focus your content by asking a series of questions. Sometimes we may call you and ask more specific details about a particular question if we need clarification. Each step in the creation and maintenance of your web site will be based on these answers to these questions during this planning stage.

These questions will be reviewed and reexamined as we advance through the various stages of creating your web site.

Use a piece a paper to record your answers.

1.) What is the primary purpose of your business?

What were interested in here is purpose. Form follows function. The content and design of your web site should reflect why you are creating it as well as why people will want to visit it.

Why are you creating this site? What results are you looking for?

2.) What are some of your goals for your website?

Are you looking for immediate response?
or paving the way for a more aggressive web presence in the future?

Is your goal to:
a. Sell a specific product or service?
b. Generate floor traffic?
c. Communicate with shareholders and investors?
d. Support products you have already sold?
e. Are you trying to position your business relative to your competition?
f. Is your goal to reduce customer support cost?
g. If you could communicate only one idea to your customers, what would it be?
1. How can you support this idea?
2. What evidence or information can you provide?

What are some of your other goals? List some of the other objectives you would like your website to achieve in order of importance? Hint: The easiest way to answer this question is reconsider the alternatives you considered in question one.

3.) Whom do you want to visit your Web site?

We would like to tailor your Web site to the expectations of your customers and this involves knowing who they are. Are you interested in:
a. First time buyers?
b. Repeat buyers?
c. Step-up buyers looking for improved performance?

4.) What types of information are they looking for?

If they are repeat customers, they probably already possess basic buying information and are more likely to be price or feature oriented than first time buyers who are interested in a basic introduction to the field.

What type of information can you provide? Your goal is to avoid marketing myopia - the feeling that just because you know something, your prospective buyers also know it. Your Web site will succeed to the extent that you can expand your market by educating them. From your universe of information about your field, your goal is to choose information that your web site visitors are looking for.

5.) What action do you want your web visitors to take?

Do you want them to:
a. Request further information?
b. Visit your place of business?
c. Purchase directly from your Web site?

6.) How often do you want our visitors to revisit your Web site?

The more often you want them to return, the more you'll want to frequently update your Web site.

7.) How are you going to measure the success of your web site?

Try to establish ways to quantify the success of your web sites. Establish a mechanism for tracking the results of your web site by identifying incremental leads, sales, and visits that are directly attributable to your web site.

8.) What are some of the possible reasons you don't sell more of your products or services?

Your responses to this question will help us identify the direction your content will take. We need to identify obstacles that stand in the way of achieving your goals.

9.) What about price?

Our analysis of the price sensitivity of your market is also a key in creating meaningful content for your web site.

10.) How can you build immediacy into your web site?

Your market is likely to have a short memory. If visitors don't act immediately, they may never act.
What incentives can you offer to encourage your market to immediately respond to your offerings?
Are there ways you can make your web visitors feel special, and, hence more likely to respond immediately?

11.) What type of image do you want to project?

Do you want to project an affordable or upscale image?
Do you want to project a youthful or more conservative image?

12.) Please list the names of sections of buttons you believe should be included?

What categories of information do you want to present?
What are logical ways to break them down so they are easily understandable?

13.) What secondary information should your Web site include?

If your goals are to increase your market awareness, your goals will be enhanced to the extent you provide the kinds of information that prospective buyers - that is, those not in the immediate market to buy - are likely to need. Information about new products and commentary on current challenges and trends will pave the way for future sales. If your goal is to identify unsatisfied market needs, we will want to include a questionnaire, or form, which will make it easy for your web site visitors to provide you with the information you desire in order to adapt your business to a changing market.

14.) How much involvement (interactivity) do you want to include?

Are there ways that you can begin to help web site visitors sell themselves and encourage the sale by helping them prequalify themselves? Tools like financing and lease calculators can save a great deal of your sales staff's time.

15.) What services would you like to offer on your web site?

We will tailor your design and content depending on what services you would like to offer now and in the future.

16.) What information are you interested in receiving from your customers?

Successful web sites involve their visitors. Registration forms and email links that make it easy for your visitors to request additional information are ways to make it possible to move the visitor from being aware of your product or service to the actual purchase. Responding to request for information forges a one-to-one relationship with web site visitors, giving them a sense if familiarity while providing them with the information they need. Responding to information request also makes it easier for us to fine-tune the contents of your web site to the increasing needs of your target market.

17.) What can you offer to motivate visitors to register?

Here are some ideas:

Ø Offer a premium such as a printed copy of a back issue of one of your previous newsletters or a special "White Paper" containing helpful information, such as software shortcuts, a "hot list" of current interest to your visitors, or a complementary admission to an upcoming event. The more meaningful the reward, the higher your rate of registrations.

Ø Save them money by promising to notify them via e-mail of upcoming promotions, sending them money-saving content or providing them with a password to access pages of your web site containing special savings for reserved for just "friends" with access to the page.

Ø Offer them a free sample - for example, offer to answer a question or send a sample of the product you are selling.

Ø Perform a service, such as answering questions or searching for a product they are interested in locating for them. Another valuable service you can offer is to promise to notify visitors when you add new content to your web site. This saves your visitors the trouble of visiting your web site to encounter only prior information.

Ø Enhanced content. Another option is to include special information on your web site that can only be accessed by those who register. This might include more in-depth versions of the free articles, buying tips, up-to-date product information and savings displayed earlier.

Ø Award a prize. Create a contest, perhaps based on awarding every n'th registrant a special prize, perhaps a copy of a book or a special report you've written. Or, perhaps you can persuade one of your vendors to donate a prize to be given away at a special drawing.

18.) Where is your market located?

If you are targeting a local market and want to encourage visits to your place of business, it makes sense to include a map showing the location of your shop or store. If your market is national or international, your web site must contain information describing shipping and payment options, currency exchange rates, etc.

19.) Are there any Web sites that you would like to link to yours?

Companies can choose from four distinct strategies:

1. Extensive Link Strategy
Advantages Disadvantages
a.) potential advertising revenues a.) Time - consuming and
b.) high traffic to site costly to build and
c.) potential visitors to several pages of your web site maintain.
d.) /improve brand image and reputation b.) Many visitors never
use your services - site
is used only as a tool
2. Frequent Link
Advantages Disadvantages
a.) goodwill (provide links for visitors) a.) lose visitors to other web pages

3. Infrequent Directed Link
Advantages Disadvantages
a.) Strengthen brand image by letting the viewer a.) lose some visitors to
see revenant content on other web sites. other web pages

4. No Link Strategy
Advantages Disadvantages
a.) No loss of visitors to other web sites unless a.) do not receive
there is a conscious decision to leave. additional traffic through your site.

20.) Where does your market go for information?

Your web site content should mirror the information provided by those institutions or publications your market trust. By analyzing the influencers of your market, and studying the questions and letters to the editor columns, you'll gain valuable clues to the content your market will respond to.

21.) What solutions or satisfactions do your products or services provide?

Your web site will succeed to the extent that you provide content that translates product or service features into benefits your market can easily understand. By focusing on the real product or service your market is buying, we can develop web content that will appeal to your market's self-interest - instead of your own.

22.) What are some of the ways you differ from or are better than the competition?

Once we have identified the competition, it becomes relatively easy to formulate a strategy and content that will make you appear different and better than them.

23.) What do your competitors web sites like?

Check out your competitor's web sites. What type of content does it contain? What products or services does it contain?

24.) What do you think are its short-term and long-term goals?

What benefits and obstacles are they ignoring that we can emphasize on your site?

25.) What are some of the reasons lost prospects give you after they have bought elsewhere?

Conversations with lost prospects may provide you with ideas for developing some of your web site's best content. Their comments will help us identify content your web site should contain.

26.) How will your web site be designed?

We want your ideas here so we can be consistent with your other advertising media if applicable.

27.) How compatible would you like it?

This depends on our market and what equipment they use and features they expect or would appreciate.

28.) What other categories of information will you provide?

Any other ideas for now or in the future?

29.) How do you want prospects to begin a relationship with you?

Usually the more choices a customer has to contact you, the better.

30.) Who is going to follow up on comments, queries, request for information and sales generated by your web site?

The volume of e-mail, for example, is certain to increase, as your web site becomes more and more successful. Successful web sites are those that begin relationships with prospective clients and customers by making them participants rather than observers.

31.) How often do you want to update your web site?

To be effective, it's imperative that your web site always contains up-to-date content. To determine the amount of maintenance your web site is likely to require, think about:

Ø Which content is likely to go out of date?
Ø How quickly will content go out of date?
Ø How often will you post new content?
Ø How often will you review links for accuracy?

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