How Do I Chart My Course?

Okay, so you’ve got a destination in mind. Last week, we called that a desired outcome.

Now what?

Charting My Course

The next step is to chart your course, or in other words, make your plan. You may be wondering what should be included in your plan. That’s a perfect question.

Often times, when a plan is developed, we want to make some form of “general idea” or guidelines that will tell us whether or not we are heading in the right direction.

For example, when creating a website, one of the things to do includes adding content. Another step may be to create spaces for ads. Another step in creating a website may also be to put links to the site on search engines so the content can be found.

How Do I Know What Guidelines To Include?

My best recommendation is to look at a website that you like. If you look at the website, observe how each page is formatted. Is the menu at the top, on the left, or on the right? Is there also a menu at the bottom of the page?

Think about what you like on the page. What parts would you change about what you see? Do you like the color? Is the font too big or too small?

Putting Steps In Order By Priority
Now comes the hard part. What’s the most important to do first? Next? And last?

From my past experience, I have some preferences. As you can on my pages, I prefer the menu at the top. It is easier to see. Also, you’ll notice that the menu expands and provides additional information (such as under the legal pages menu option).

Most successful websites also include a menu at the bottom of the page. You’ll notice the menu at the bottom of most pages includes different items than the menu at the top of the page.

The questions to consider at this point in the process depends on the desired outcome you’ve decided on. If the desired outcome is to teach people how to do family history, then maybe making the website as useful as possible would be more important than having lots of content.

However, if your desired outcome is to create a system where people are able to interact with like-minded people, maybe having a bulletin board or other features like a membership website may be higher on your list.

What’s Missing?

Remember that anything online can only add value when other people see it. For example, if you haven’t already added content to your website, there isn’t anything to invite visitors to visit your website.

Or, as another example, if you have created an awesome email responder series, but no one registers for it, it doesn’t serve the purpose it was intended for.

One way that I recognize what else I need to think about or include is to ask the quesetion, “What’s missing?”

For example, if I compare my website to Amazon, I don’t have as many graphics. I also don’t have a shopping cart or something people can order. Okay, so that goes into the plan. Once I’m ready to add something people can order, I will need to have a shopping cart.

Does that make sense?

If it is your website, it is your responsibility to decide what you want on it. What color is it or what font it is are going to be part of the “image” people create in their heads that they’ll use to decide if they like you and your site.

People will do business with someone they know, like and trust.

Does that help?

Okay, I think that’ll get you ready for our next discussion. Until then, have a wonderful day!

1 Comment

  • George Kerr

    Reply Reply March 23, 2015

    You obviously have sat down and put some thought into your plan. There Ben Franklin quote that says “if you fail to plan you are planning to fail,” to chart you course is a real good start. Thank you for sharing.

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