A website is the online businessman’s most important tool. With everyone and everybody else’s pet having websites, I honestly think it’s a bit pointless if you’re going to do business online and not have one.That being said, it’s easy to understand why different companies go all-out in their web development campaign in trying to outdo one another; if you only have limited tools at your disposal, you should make the most out of every one of them. But how can you, a starting online entrepreneur, keep up with the flashy and fancy websites out there? With just one word: flowchart.
Back to Basics
Why do you want to put up a website in the first place? A business website should fulfill three things: attract customers, give information about the company, product or service, and provide contact and shopping information. If you can successfully deliver just those 3 aspects, you can have an effective website even without the fancy gimmicks.
Wow, only three things! That should make it a whole lot easier, right? Well, you might think so, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses still manage to screw up one or all of these important aspects.
To help you get your ideas and development rolling, one tip I can suggest is that you use a flowchart.
Building a Flowchart
Most websites are built like this: “I have room for 5 pages, so I’ll separate that into 5 sections and create each section separately.” While that’s one way to do things, what this actually does is chop the natural flow of the website into awkward bits and pieces—kind of like oddly-shaped chicken nuggets that you never can guess from which part of a chicken it came out of. While that may make the web designer and web programmer’s task easier, it will make the viewing experience of your customer something between perplexing and irritating.
“Where’s the home button? Why don’t these links work? The contacts page is not updated, and the write up on each product doesn’t give me an idea of what it is!” Those are some of the things you would not want your potential customer to experience.
Doodle it Up
To avoid this, I suggest you create a website that flows naturally, like you are reading a short story or having a full conversation with a person. Having a natural flow will keep your customer in your site because even though the pages are separated, the content are not. A good website should integrate each section seamlessly, much like turning the pages of a good book.
A good way for you to get an idea for this is to sit down and doodle every idea you have on paper. It’s easier to visualize a concept in pictures than it is in words. Think about your target audience, how you will start your approach, what information will you give, etc. Draw all of these along with arrows to show you the next step in the process, and that your brain will begin thinking of ways how to connect the ideas together.
Weigh Both Sides
Another tip I’d like to share is to be prepared for the worst. Most websites do extremely well in thanking and congratulating their customers after a deal, but how many sites do you know of, that handled negative transactions like a pro? I don’t know of any such site, do you?
So for you to be able to anticipate the things that will likely cause trouble, try charting out the things you’ll do when the transaction doesn’t go so well, too. In short, cover both ends of the spectrum.
Keep it Simple
My best advice is: keep it simple! Don’t fret about not having interactive menus and edgy sound effects and other stuff. What you should highlight is the product that you are selling. After all, that’s the purpose of a website, right?