1. Who are your audiences? Answering this question will guide the overall design, including structure, visuals, messaging, content, and tone. PR and marketing should be integrated during the entire website design process, but especially at this beginning step. Because understanding your audiences will drive the goals of the website and help narrow the scope to the most important features.
2. What action do you want your audience to take? Once your audience visits your website, what action you want them to take will determine structure, navigation, and add-ons. Actions range from heavy to light commitment and include buying a product, enrolling for a free trial, or signing up for an email newsletter.
3. Why would your audiences visit your site? Many start-up companies focus simply on providing information about the company, but websites can no longer be static. They must be connected to a strategic PR and marketing plan that will drive traffic, but once the traffic is there, the website needs to tell an engaging, visual story.
4. How will you drive traffic? We are often asked how can we get a website to rank higher on search. Keywords in the content, including the back-end tagging, are important for search engine optimization (SEO), but the biggest way to improve SEO is referral traffic from other websites. How you drive traffic will depend on your PR and marketing plan and budget and can rely on a mix of paid advertising and earned links from industry-specific blogs, social media, and partner websites.
5. How will you get your visitors to visit your website again? Driving traffic is an ongoing endeavor and needs to be considered in website design. The most successful websites drive return traffic by consistently adding new content, most times through a blog or news page. Most importantly, the content needs to be relevant to your audiences and shareable on social networks.
6. Did you hook up Google Analytics? Before launch, make sure that Google Analytics is set up for your website. Otherwise all the information on the traffic you have driven to your website will be lost!
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