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Plan Your Web Site for Profits

By Leva Duell
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004

Most businesses fail to plan for online success. Knowing your purpose,
audience, and uniqueness are the first steps to developing a successful web
site. Follow these three steps to position your web site for Internet profits.

Step 1: Determine Your Purpose

The first step in planning a web site is to determine what you want to
accomplish. Do you want to sell products and services, find new customers,
establish credibility, or improve customer service?

The purpose of your web site will affect its content and design. Depending
on your goal, you may want to write articles to establish trust, provide a
compelling sales letter, a catalog, product information, a secure online order
form, and a shopping cart.

Step 2: Define Your Ideal Customers, Their Needs and Concerns

Many web sites are trying to attract everybody. DonÕt make this mistake.
Your web site will be more profitable when focusing on your ideal prospects
who are likely to buy your products or services. Ask the following questions
to create a profile of your ideal customers.

- Who are your customers? Who will be visiting your web site?
- Who wants or needs your products or services?
- What are your customersÕ needs and concerns?
- What is the age range, gender, profession, industry, income level,
education, and reading level of your ideal customers?
- Why will they come to your site?
- What problems do your products or services solve?
- What information do they want?
- Are most of your customers computer literate?
- What computer, monitor, and screen resolution do they have?
- What browsers do they use?
- Do your visitors connect to the Internet with a slow modem or a fast
connection such as cable or DSL?

After defining your ideal customers, target your web siteÕs content, message,
and design directly to them. Here are some examples of how your audience
affects the design of your web site. If you are targeting seniors, make your
text large. If your prospects are accountants, use a conservative design. Make
your design colorful for children. Avoid movies, sounds, Flash animations,
and Java programming if your clients have slow computers and Internet

To target your content to your ideal customers, tell right away what your web
site is about and whatÕs in it for them. If they don't read further, they were not
prospects. Attract your target audience with a benefit-oriented headline and
provide valuable, useful, and interesting information your prospects are
interested in.

Step 3: Demonstrate Your Uniqueness

Emphasize your uniqueness to make your web site stand out and set you
apart from your competition. Attract your audience with a benefit that is
different from other web sites. What is your distinct advantage? What
separates you from your competition? What is distinctive about your offer?

Visiting competing web sites will give you ideas about content, design, and
features you may need for your web site. Then develop a site that stands out
and distinguishes you from them.

Here are some questions that will help you formulate your uniqueness.

- What are the most important results your customers will achieve from your
products or services?
- Why should prospects buy from you instead of your competitors?
- What do you do better than anyone else? Do you possess hard-to-find or
specialized expertise? Do you offer a free consultation, initial visit, analysis,
or better advice?
- What makes your products or services better, unique, or more desirable than
your competitors?
- Do you have the lowest prices or the highest quality products in your
industry? Do you provide the fastest service, the strongest guarantee, longest
hours, or better follow up? Do you keep customers informed with newsletters
or information hotlines?

Plan your web site for profits. Determine what you want to accomplish with
your web site, who your ideal audience is, and what makes your online
business unique. Only after implementing these steps are you ready to start
developing your web content.

P.S. Read more in-depth articles at (

This article is an excerpt from Inside Secrets to Developing a Profitable Web
Site. More info at (

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