Things have changed dramatically over the past several years in terms of Web site design and development methodology. Back in the old days—a couple of years ago in Internet years—it was quite acceptable, and the norm, for an organization to pack up all of its brochures, ads, direct-mail pieces, news releases, and other marketing materials in a box, drop it off at the Web developer’s office, and after a short conversation, ask when they might expect the Web site to be “done.” The Web developer would then take the marketing materials and digitize some, scan some, and do some HTML programming to develop the site. By going through this process, organizations ended up with a Web site that looked just like their brochure—hence the term “brochureware.” Brochureware is no longer acceptable on the Web if you want to be successful. Sites that are successful today are ones that are constantly being updated, providing a reason for visitors to visit on a regular basis. The site is just one element in the company’s online presence along with their blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and accounts in other social media applications. Your Web site and all online presence applications should be designed around:
- Objectives of the organization
- Needs, wants, and expectations of your target markets
- Products and services that are being offered.
Everything related to Internet marketing revolves around these three things—objectives, target markets, and products or services. It is critically important to define these things appropriately and discuss them with your Web developer. It is your responsibility, not your Web developer’s, to define these things. You know (or should know) what your objectives are more clearly than your Web developer does. If you don’t articulate these objectives and discuss them with your Web developer, it is impossible for him or her to build a site to achieve your objectives!
You know your target markets better than your Web developer does. You know what your visitors want, what they base their buying decisions on, and what their expectations are. You need to provide this information so that your Web developer can build a Web site that meets the needs, wants, and expectations of your target market.
Let’s spend the remainder of the chapter on these fundamentals—objectives, target markets, and products and services—so you can be better prepared for the planning process for your Web site.