Your marketing plan and its investment must be focused on realistic goals and mechanisms for achieving them. Your Website belongs at the center of your marketing strategy to connect with customers, an activity that’s the core of every marketing effort. It’s generally the first place where customers and prospects go for information on your company.

Launching or redesigning your Website can be a real challenge. Audiences quickly tire of duplicate information and photographs. Design it well. Illustrate profusely. Write less. Test it on a variety of platforms. Maintain it. Keep content current.

There are many other things to consider. Where will the site be hosted? Are there any technology limitations that need to be considered? How many pages? What types of content, text, charts, photography and animation? Do you need any forms? Contact, request information or request a quote? If there are forms, do they need to by dynamic or will e-mail forms work? Does your site need to interact with an ordering or fulfillment system or automatically do something when the form is filled out, or does it just send an e-mail notification? Who will update the site in the future? Do you want to easily update your site without being a program? Does the site need a content management system? Who will write the copy? Will you use in-house, stock photography or need new photography?

Think of your Website as an investment in brand marketing, creating awareness and connections with your most important audiences. If you develop a plan; know your strategy; create good content; lay out your site’s architecture (organization) with your audience in mind and have simple, obvious and intuitive navigation (titles, buttons, aids); you will get a return on your investment.

Having a great site is only half the equation. You must also drive traffic to your site. Optimize your site to boost your traffic. Are you using the right key words? Concentrate on getting motivated prospects and valuable customers to visit your Website. A few simple differentiations in your messages can increase your clicks and conversions.

Once you have a powerful Website, you must keep your site content fresh and up-to-date. It can get old very fast. You must regularly put fresh content on your site. Take down old products and services, keep press releases current and provide fresh and relevant information.

The key to developing a winning Website is to clearly identify your goals and know what you want to accomplish.