Your Internet strategy defines how you will use the Internet to pursue your mission, accomplish objectives and expand your outcomes.
An experienced Web developer can help you define and hone your Internet strategy, but you should develop your own answers to some strategic questions.
Mission. Achieving your objectives with visitors requires that you convey a sense of your mission. Decide clearly how to make the Web site relevant to what you're trying to do.
Audience. Knowing exactly who will visit your site is essential.
Audience relationship. Will you use the Web site to manage your customer relationships? If you don't know many characteristics about your customers and their Internet habits and preferences, find out.
Positioning shift. What view does the target audience have of the company now? If you don't know, maybe you should consider some polling.
Measure success. Imagine the site is successful. What will it have accomplished for the company in three months, six months and one year after it is implemented?
Current Web presence. Do you have an existing Web site? Have you had any means of measuring its success? Analyze whether limited success with an existing site was a result of concept, content, design or marketing.
Objectives. Finally, identify some objectives you want to accomplish with a new Web site.
Try to think a little out of the box but keep your goals achievable.
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Mary Ann Chapman, owner of Fanfare House, Inc., provides Internet strategy consulting, top-level Web site design, and browser-based back-office integration design for small- and medium-sized businesses.