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The Key to Success: Planning

You will need to work with your website developer if your website it to be successful. Your developer may be an expert at website development, but you know your clients and business best. Planning is critical in developing a successful website. A good web plan documents your website’s goals and objectives, describes the target audience, and includes an analysis of your competitors’ websites. Just like your business goals, your website goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and include a Timeframe.

Your web plan should include your website’s positioning strategy, key brand attributes, and a site map. A site map outlines the main sections of your website. A simple yet effective way to organize a site map is to write each individual content idea on a sticky note. Place each sticky note into a pre-identified website section (for example, a company history or profiles of key people in your business would be placed within the “About Us” section). Try to limit your section categories to ten or fewer. Your next step is to decide on a domain name for your business. Your business domain name should be short, memorable, and easy to spell. Register you own domain name. The only technical piece of information you’ll need is your web host’s domain name server (DNS) number. You should conduct a trademark search at a corporate registry office before registering your domain name, to ensure that you are not infringing on U.S. or Canadian copyright law. You should also be aware of all legal and security issues related to your website. For example, you need to develop a privacy policy. If you are selling goods or services through your site, you will need to have a sales agreement that outlines the terms and conditions for the product purchase, including payment terms, interest, shipping, taxes, warranties, and customer support.

If your site is complex and handles sensitive client information, you may want to invest in a security audit. A security audit is a third-party evaluation of your site and your internal systems’ security. The goal is to establish reasonable safeguards to protect your systems and customer information.