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B2B Websites in 10 Steps--Part 1

By: Michael Bleau

Sunday, August 01, 2010
 

As with most communications projects, planning and preparation should consume 80 percent of your time. The job you do before starting to code your website will have a considerable impact on how well your site meets your audience’s expectations and the overall cost to produce your website. Here are the steps to take to ensure that your site attracts and retains the right kind of prospects for your business.

1) Secure a domain—While securing the domain is a simple task that can be tackled with a visit to a registrar such as NetworkSolutions.com or GoDaddy.com, deciding on the name can be a challenge. Try keeping it simple, easy to spell, short and tied to your brand. Using your company’s name or a part of the name is the best approach, while avoiding cryptic acronyms. If needed, secure additional domains that may include common misspellings of your company’s name. Steer clear of buying competitors names as additional domains for redirects since, well it’s illegal.

2) Check out your competition—Visit your competitors’ sites to see how they stack up. You can right-click on their homepage and select “View Source” to see if they have positioned keywords for search engines. These usually show up within the first 10 lines of code and look like, “

3) Identify your target audience—One of the most important steps in the process is to know your prospects. Check out last month’s column, “Precision: Pick your Targets” for more details. You need to quantify who your target customer is and understand what drives their strategy and business decisions. Define what is important to them, and what they would expect to gain from visiting your website. What is your value proposition—are you building the site to serve prospects, existing customers, current employees, prospective employees or all of the above? Defining the value you bring for the audience and honing in on their interest will help you create a more relevant experience for visitors.

4) Outline what you intend to communicate—Define what you want visitors to know about your company, culture, quality, processes, products and services, and the impression you hope to make. Keep the statements short and to the point, without any fluff. Next, prioritize these points based on what will be of most importance to visitors.

5) Compile a keyword bank—Compile a listing of keywords based on what you learned from your competitive review in step 2, as well as from the outline you created in step 4. You can use this listing in several ways, identify as a reference for writing copy. Try to include as many keywords as possible throughout the sites’ copy. Next, include as many of your top keywords within a maximum limit of 255 characters and list these on your index page (see step 2). Use the remaining keywords in Google Adwords campaigns to drive traffic to your site. In such a program, you can never have too many keywords. MF

 


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