When you build a website, or when you begin any traditional or web marketing campaign, you should carefully consider what your end goals are. Who is your website targeted towards? How do you position yourself against your competitors? You should know the answers to these questions like the back of your hand before you begin building any section of your website.

1. What are my competitors doing?

Take a look around the web for your competitors. What are their websites like? How can you stand above them and really blow them out of the water? What elements do all your competitors’ websites have in common that you’ll need to incorporate as an industry standard? You should know exactly what your competitors are doing, and how you’ll be positioning your site against theirs upon launch.

2. What’s my Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

Your website USP might be different from your regular USP. What does your company offer online that no one else does? Carefully consider your positioning before you start writing the web copy for your website. Do you offer a best-in-class solution? A low price? Unbeatable customer service in an industry filled with faceless corporate entities?

3. Who will be updating the website?

If you’re building a website for a client that doesn’t know much about website design or coding, you’ll no doubt want to hand them a Content Management System, or CMS. This lets them edit their own content in a WYSIWYG editor, without worrying about breaking the website. Blogging software such as wordpress is an example of a CMS, and many non-blogging websites are designed using this high-powered software.

4. What are my website SEO plans?

Beyond just dumping a bunch of keywords into your meta tags and creating a site map link off the home page, you need to know what your “go-forward” SEO plans are. How will you get link backs? Is there a section of your website to load on keyword-dense SEO articles? A section for linkbait?

5. Who are my website User Groups?

Before you begin planning your website, you should understand who exactly will be using the website. What are they using the website for? What information do they want? How much do they know about your products and services? Are they technologically savvy?

6. Where will my call to actions be, and how will users “buy”?

It’s important for the user to be able to buy (or contact you) from every page on the website. How will this be done? Where will the call to action take them? If you sell one product, that’s easy. If you sell a variety of products, you should have a “Your cart” and a “Checkout” option located conveniently for the user (see Amazon.com for an example). If you don’t sell anything online, a call to action might be a button that says, “Contact Us Now.”