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4 questions every web site owner needs to answer

I was in a meeting the other day and these questions came up with regard to marketing a web site. They may seem basic, but amazingly in the midst of our quest for visual and technical excellence (along with web traffic and rankings), we can miss what is right in front of us.

1. Why would someone come to our web site? – What are you offering specifically, and how are you getting this message out to your prospective audience?

2. Why would someone stay on our site and do business? – Three things come to mind here:

Usability: Can they locate (as in, is it easy to navigate to) what they think they came to your site for?

Marketing Message: Are you sending the right message? Are you answering the customers question or solving their problem? Is your offer clear? Are you offering content, services, or resources of value?

First Impression: Is your site professionally designed? Does it paint your business in a positive light, or does it look like your kid in middle school made it? Do you use any site seals to increase consumer confidence (i.e. BBB Online, Guardian, Thawte)?

3. Why would they come back to our site? – Are you keeping them current on the subject matter (through blogs, newsletters, forums, etc.)? Are you capturing visitor and customer information so that you can continue to market to them? (i.e. name, email, RSS subscription, offer a newsletter, etc) Do you offer a one time sale or repeat business? Many would think if they offer a one time sale, the job is done. Opportunities are always missed out is you are not marketing on the back end for repeat business. Once you have earned someones trust enough for them to spend money with you, they are more likely to spend more money with you. Don’t leave it on the table!

4. How will they find our web site? – The obvious question that most people ask at the expense of the other 3 above. The answer – a solid search marketing plan that should include some, if not all, of the following:

– Organic Search Optimization
– Pay Per Click Search
– Getting listed in Directories and Niche Portals
– Online & Offline Press Releases
– Affiliate Programs
– Social Media Marketing
– Viral Marketing
– Article Marketing
– Contests
– Advertising
– Joint Ventures
– Offering free tools or services

I hope that was helpful, but most of all I hope it got you to take a look at your site and answer a question other than “how do we get people to our web site?” and make any improvements necessary.

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9 Responses to “4 questions every web site owner needs to answer”

  • Good questions for any client to ask. It’s funny, but I wrote a pretty similar post yesterday as I was thinking about three questions that broadly relate to usability:

    1. Do people like what you’re doing?
    2. Do people want what you’re NOT doing?
    3. Do people want what you’re selling?

  • oldschool:

    Those are great questions, and hopefully more people will continue to incorporate usability questions into their marketing efforts.

    My first three questions were “openers” which led to deeper probing questions. I think I will expand on the list at least for personal use, or maybe I can give it to clients in the context of a site evaluation.

  • An addendum to #1 could be ‘why would people come to your site instead of your competitors?’

    Many times people just want to throw up a site and have nothing unique about their offering, which will be a hard site to grow in the long run.

  • oldschool:

    @ Dave – Absolutely; in fact, it may be a better question to ask, and that gets to the USP. What are you doing to stand out above the competition? Is it, having a “hip hop” category on your SEO blog? 🙂 (sorry Dave, I couldn’t resist) but the good news is now everyone will visit your blog to see if it’s true.

  • Haha … Thanks for the traffic :). That’s a good possible avatar: HipHopSEO. I love 90’s hiphop and planned on blogging about it when I first started my blog, but haven’t had the chance. In fact I’ve seen the Wu-Tang Clan twice here in Phoenix.

    But to get back to your point, I really have no USP but I’m trying now to learn as much as I can about a certain SEO niche and become very well versed in it in an effort to separate myself from the pack.

  • oldschool:

    @ Dave – I hope you registered that domain before you gave someone the idea.

    RE: SEO – I agree that niche is the way to go. It grown so much that no one can be an expert at every aspect of it.

    Hopefully I will catch up with at the next Phoenix SEO Meetup.

  • lol….. Indeed generating a return on investment requires knowing your ideal web visitor and delivering the goods.
    The more we focus on what we really want out of our visitors . . . ie. focusing on results or desired visitor actions, the more we’ll get those results.

    In short, more people visiting, doesn’t necessarily mean more business.

  • oldschool:

    @ Todd – agreed, and that is where surveying your clients base can be helpful in making sure you are providing what they want.

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