Understanding what is important to your readers, customers and/or clients, and being able to provide them with the solutions they need in the way they want will help you build your brand immensely.
Create an image and a brand that people will want to talk about and share with those they know and you should have no problem growing your business and your building your brand.
Questions about your Visitors
1. Who is your target audience?
When choosing a niche you need to figure out who your target audience is so that you can provide the best solutions to them and give your website a clear focus.
You can’t provide great solutions if you don’t know who you are targeting.
2. What perception is your website trying to convey to your readers, customers, and clients?
Whether or not you are aware of it your website is conveying a certain perception to everyone that sees it.
By understanding and communicating your site in a certain way you can affect how people who visit your site will feel and what they will think.
3. What is the first thing you want your visitors to see and think when they visit your site?
There is always at least one thing that stands out on a website when visitors see your site.
It could be an image, your header, your websites navigation, or your content.
Whatever it is make sure that those elements represent your site in a positive way and increase the likelihood that your visitors will want to stay on your site.
It should give them a clear understanding of what your website is about within the first couple of seconds.
4. What type of solutions will you provide to those that visit your site?
Will your site help readers build a better blog, teach them how to improve an important area of their lives, educate them on technology, show them how to improve their sales or get them to take some other type of action?
For most sites success depends on providing quality solutions presented in a way their readers, customers, and clients want it.
5. How will you communicate with your readers, customers, and clients?
Will you create a blog, design a Facebook fan page, use a forum, communicate over Skype, put a contact form on your website, or talk on twitter?
There are tons of ways to communicate with others, but you have to choose which formats work best for your business and choose the ones you can manage.
It doesn’t make sense choosing a social platform you don’t have time to respond to.
6. What is the maturity level of your content
Understanding the maturity level of your content will go a long way towards how you visitors will view your site.
Is your site easy for the average visitor to understand or is it designed for college level education?
Also be aware that certain language and images may appeal to one type of visitor, but it may turn other visitors away.
You don’t have to appeal to everyone. Choose who you want to appeal to then focus on creating content for that audience.
7. What calls to action will you include on your site?
If you don’t have clear calls to action your visitors most likely won’t take an action.
Have clear calls to action or at least make it clear that you have area’s of importance that will entice them to take some sort of action.
Questions for your business
8. What is the purpose of your website?
Your website should have a clear, definitive purpose. The stronger your purpose the easier it will be to give your site a clear vision.
This purpose is the reason that you’ve built your website and will be the reason visitors will come to your site and as well as how you will choose to market it.
9. What market is your business for?
It is important to understand your niche and the market you want to focus on.
A website that tries to focus on everything often ends up appealing to no one.
Figure out what your market will be and provide your visitors with what they want.
10. What type of website (business model) will you set up?
As I stated in my post five popular online business models there are different types of businesses you can set up.
When you create your website you need to decide wha business model you will use so that you can decide how to market it and build a following around that type of business.
11. What are the primary topics you will discuss?
Choosing several topics that are closely related to your niche is a great way to provide quality to your readers, customers, and clients.
By giving them several topics you not only educate them about other things they may have missed, but you also increase your authority and sense of expertise.
As an added bonus it can also help your SEO out by making your website more relevant to various search terms.
12. What type of media do you plan on using for your website?
Will your website focus on providing readable content, video’s tutorials, audio, statistical images or some other type of interactive content?
Visitors like to feel engaged and able to gain the information they seeks as easily as possible in the format they prefer.
Providing several ways for them to take in the information can increase the likelihood they will want to stay on your site.
13. What is unique about your site that is different from your competition?
With so many websites out now a days it is important to offer something of value that stands out from the other sites in your niche.
It could be having a community, using certain types of images that stand out from your competition, educating readers in a format other sites don’t use such as videos tutorials, having a really simple navigation system that takes them by the hand and walks them through your site, or any other number of things.
Whatever it is make sure it stands out and separates your site from the rest.
14. What type of people will you exclude from your site?
Your site shouldn’t be about appealing to everyone because it causes you to be very generic and can reduce your effectiveness at growing a following of people who need to feel an emotional connection with either you or your website.
You want your websites individuality to show, and to do that you need to appeal to the market you are trying to grow.
Be professional, but offer your visitors an emotional reason to stay on your website.
You can’t try to please everyone or you will end up pleasing no one.
15. What are the most important features of your business?
Is it your content, your product line, or something else? your visitors should know what makes your site so important to them and it should show it proudly.
16. How often do you plan on updating your website?
Will you create a static (business) style website that only needs to be updated once in a while or will it be a highly conversational blog or some other type of site that requires consistent updating such as a technology site.
You should have an idea of how often you need to update your site so that you can provide the best value to your visitors and increase your sites return visitors.
17. What is your budget?
The great thing about online business is that you don’t need a large budget to be successful, but you do need to have some sort of budget in place.
it could be $50 dollars a day, $100 dollars a month, or $300 dollars a year.
Depending on how much you plan on doing on your own or whether you will hire help will also affect your budget.
Many successful sites have started on less than $300.
Your budget will determine how you will market your site, what type of products/services you can purchase to help build your business i.e. keyword reasearch tools, what type of marketing campaigns and advertising you can afford, and what type of content management system you’ll run on and much more.
Questions about your websites design
18. What design (theme) will you use for your website?
Deciding your websites theme will play a large role in whether or not visitors will want to stay on your site and what type of visitors will stay.
Choose a theme that complements your business and is easy for your readers to navigate and keep their focus.
To many distractions will either irritate their eyes or cause them to look at every shine object on your site and hurt its effectiveness.
19. What is the primary color scheme of your site?
You should choose two or three primary colors for your website.
It will give it a professional look and help to separate the various area’s of your site.
Other colors are definitely allowed but don’t overdo it otherwise visitors will lose focus on what’s important and what’s not.
Also if you choose to stick with too few colors you can cause the same negative effect of losing focus on whats important.
Highlight the important area’s with your primary colors.
20. What will you include/exclude from your websites navigation?
Only put important, relevant links in your navigation.
One of the quickest ways to confuse a visitor is to fill your site with useless navigational links or by not using any and making them play guessing games as to where to go.
21. What type of images will you include/exclude from your site?
Pictures are extremely important for breaking apart your content and creating an emotional connection.
Pictures/images also help to create a certain perception and expectation of your brand.
You can positively affect how people feel about your brand by including images that portray a particular feeling you are trying to induce.
22. What type of Header (logo) and tagline will your website have?
Your header and tagline should clearly describe what your website is about.
It is one of several things a visitor first see’s when they go to your website.
Your header, tagline, headline and navigation are some of the most important elements you can use to describe what your website is about to your visitors.
23. How will visitors navigate your site?
Will they navigate by clicking images, using a navigational system, clicking on your headline or read more link?
The easier it is for them to understand how to navigate your site the better.
Questions about marketing
24. How do you plan on marketing and promoting your website?
With social media the way it is now a days you have literally tons of ways to communicate with people.
Will you communicate and market your site through twitter, create YouTube videos, start a podcast, advertise on google, guest post on other blogs, or build a following on Facebook?
How often will you use these platforms to market your content and build a social following? Every day, once a week, or once a month?
Deciding what type of format you want to market with will help you find a target audience that enjoys that of media and communication.
25. What products/services will you promote on your site and how?
Choose products and/or services that relate to you brand and provide your readers, customers, and clients with the best benefits.
Poorly chosen products/services are not only difficult to sell, but they also make you look more like a sales person and less like someone who’s looking out for you visitors best interest.
26. If your website has a community element to it how will you build your community?
Will you spend your time socializing on your blog, are you focusing primarily on emailing to your list of followers, or will you be sharing your voice on twitter?
Most sites choose two or three primary platforms to build a following.
You should have a couple of ways to develop your community, but don’t overdo it or you might find yourself having difficulty trying to manage all of your primary social outlets.
27. What businesses, blogs, and social media groups will you work with?
While marketing on your own is all fine and dandy (yes I said dandy) you should spend some of your time building relationships and connections with those already established in your niche.
If you are serious about being successful it can be very beneficial to find those with strong influence and followings and befriend them.
Joining social groups that you can contribute to and help will also help you garner some followers of your own.
Questions for yourself
28. What do you most like/hate about your website and what will you do to fix it?
This can be a hard question to ask yourself, but you must be brutally honest.
If there is something about your website that you feel is lacking your visitors are probably going to notice it to.
You need to figure out what it is and fix it.
On another note, if there is something that you really like and feel will help those who visit your site don’t be afraid to let them know.
If you’ve worked that hard on it chances are others will appreciate it as well.
29. Why should visitors choose your site over your competitions?
Can you really pin point what makes your site stand out from all the other popular sites? Is there something that your competition isn’t doing that is giving you an edge over them.
If you really have that unique gem then let your visitors know it. Not only will it help increase your site’s relevance, it will give them a reason to keep coming back!
30. What are your strengths?
What do you excel at when it comes to your website? Are you a great writer, do you have a nack for SEO, do you love to communicate with others and share your idea’s or do you love creating design elements for your site?
Learning what your strengths are will not only help you determine what your topics can be, it can also help you learn where you need to focus and what you need to delegate.
Focusing on your strengths can give you a great opportunity to grow your business.
31. What are your weaknesses?
Everyone has weaknesses when it comes to their site.
Some are good like receiving more comments and traffic then you can respond to (yes it’s a questionable weakness) , and some are less positive like having difficulty writing great content or not knowing how to optimize your site for search engines.
The better you understand your weaknesses the better your opportunities to strengthen those abilities will be.
You can choose to learn how to improve a skill or hire someone who has expertise in that field and let them do the work for you.
Again you can always do it on your own as this may be the most cost-effective way to do things (unless hiring someone will allow you to increase your income by letting you focus on your strengths), but if cost isn’t your concern consider hiring someone to add more strength to your website.
32. Will you hire or work with someone to handle your difficult or time-consuming activities?
If you do choose to hire someone pick someone who has strengths in the area’s you lack and/or someone who will focus on the time-consuming activities that are necessary, but aren’t helping you grow your business.
If hiring someone increases your productivity and performance the additional income you generate will greatly out way the costs.
33. What will you spend the most time doing with your business?
Once you’ve built your website where will the majority of your time be spent? will it be on content creation, marketing, SEO, or some other element of your site.
You need to know how to allocate your time effectively so that you can get all of your important tasks done.
34. What are the least important factors of your business and how will you use your time effectively?
Knowing what isn’t important is just as vital as knowing what is.
Spending countless hours focusing on things that aren’t important will only increase your aggravation and stagnate your growth.
35. What do you think about your website when you look at it?
How do you feel when you look at your site? Are you proud of the design?
Do you feel like your content really resonates with your audience?
Do you feel it’s easy for a novice to navigate?
Or do you think, “wow this is an amazing mess!”
What you think matters a great deal. Looking at a site that feels like a dirty closet won’t motivate you or anyone else.
Tidy it up, improve your content, products and design, and create an atmosphere you and your visitors will love.
Anyone else have some great questions or tips for building your business and your brand? Let’s chat in the comments!
This post is part of the online business series.