Here’s some free advice that can increase the ROI from your website: You only have one chance at a first impression with your website, so resist the temptation to just “put something up” without going through some fundamental steps.

Define and commit to your business vision

Whether it’s in writing or not, I’m sure you have a clear vision about your business. How will you fill a need better than anyone else? What is your niche? How and to whom will you reach out with your marketing? How will you, your company or your product change the world?! Think big and then make sure your website supports and matches this lofty vision.

Define the objectives for your website

Your website should align with your marketing in the broadest sense. Marketing is all about creating visibility, enhancing credibility and showcasing ability. A professional website can overtly and subliminally accomplish all of these. Also, remember that your social media presence should seamlessly lead to your website and specific pages on your website. Maybe someday Facebook will replace websites, maybe not. But we’re not there yet. The website is still the place for the most substantive messaging about an organization.

Know your Target Audience

While you have your marketing hat on, think creatively about your target audience. Define the groups by demographics (age, gender, income level, etc.), level of hipness, IQ, or whatever. Once you’re focused on your ideal customers, put yourself in their shoes as you create the website’s look, feel, content and maneuverability. If you can’t get inside their heads, run the beta site past someone who can in order to make sure it resonates. After all, lawyers don’t want to see cartoon characters and teens don’t want to read about your Mission Statement!

Happy December holidays from Blue Zenith Web Designs. Rest up—I have a feeling 2012 is going to be incredible!