First impressions do count! Your site must be overpowering, able to capture and hold attention and create a feeling that action must be taken. It must be easy to navigate with a good level of readability, but it needs more than just visual perception.

Unfortunately, many websites do not deliver the desired results because they lack proper planning. It is the most critical step in getting the results you want.

The following five questions will help if you are creating or hiring someone to develop your website or help you learn what is or isn’t working if you already have a site.

1. Who is your ideal client?

Remember that we are entrepreneurs and small business owners, not huge corporations who target a broad clientele. Be specific—age, gender, education, location, business type, and budget. What products and services do they need and what is important to them?

2. Do you have clear Goals and Objectives?

Creating a website or wanting a visually attractive and functional site are not clear objectives. Your goals need to be SMART: Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant and Time-bound.

Write down your goals and objectives. That means every single step required to complete each goal.

For example:

Goal Objective
Increase the number of weekly leads by 10%  Social Marketing, email marketing
Increase monthly sales by 20% Facebook ads, email marketing
Grow my email marketing list by 15% Freebies, Facebook ads

3. Is your Brand consistent or is it a hot mess?

Brand Coach and Social Design Strategist Danielle Tucker believe that strategic design is a crucial part of the online success of any business. Branding will ensure that your message will be consistent.

“Just like a house needs a strong foundation,” Danielle states, “your business also needs a strong brand foundation in the form of brand strategy.”

4. How secure is your website?

If you are going to accept online credit card payments for your products or services, a TSL or an SSL certificate is a must. It is a critical part of a site’s security features. A TLS or SSL certificate enables you to encrypt the data you send, such as credit card information, names or addresses so hackers can’t access it.

Another important security measure for any website is Malware Protection.  This protects against Spam Infections and SEO Poisoning, phishing, malvertising and more. There are many different Professional Malware Removal alternatives such as Securi, GoDaddy, to name a couple.

5. Does your website have legal documents in place?

A Website Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and Disclaimers are documents a site must have and should be accessible and well displayed. I am not a lawyer and do not provide legal advice, but as a business owner, I highly recommend to consult an attorney with experience in internet law. Annette Stepanian helps entrepreneurs build & legally protect online businesses.