Goals for your website is one area that you really need to define yourself.  We can provide you some questions to consider, resources to find research, and a framework for decision making, but ultimately you need to have a clear and well-fined idea of what your website is going to be about, why visitors would want to come to it, and how you would generate income from their visits.

Choosing a topic for your website

The first and most important question is "what is your website going to be about?" If you can not clearly and specifically define the topic of your website, visitors aren't going to know what it is about either.  The Internet is so huge that there is a niche for anything and everything, but in order to attract visitors, your niche had better be clearly defined and useful for that purpose.

What am I offering: information, products and/or services?

  • products - Have you got some thing that you plan to sell?  Whether it is an toy, food, gadget, book, handmade craft, or whatever.
  • services - Maybe you plan to sell your own services (hopefully something legal) that you can do over the internet, or travel to the worksite.  Examples are technical writing, wedding or event planning, tutoring students, landscaping, interior design, catering, etc.
  • information - Do you intend to create an informative website with pages that describe how to do something, or provide links to other sources of information?  Will you have information in files that visitors can download?

How will I make a profit via the website?

Amazingly, many people don't even consider this.  And actually, that's fine, if this is your hobby, or your goal is to learn the technology of developing websites. 

EHSO.com is a website a few environmental health and safety professionals developed in 1998 as a means to take their expertise in that profession (environmental health and safety) and provide it via a website to other EHS professionals and the general public.  The original plan, at that time, to use create an online filing cabinet of information,  resources and templates to help the group of EHS professionals

There wasn't a clear idea of how to make money, except to bring in consulting business. But as the website became popular, it soon became evident that it could make a small profit by 

  • selling information (downloads of useful documents),
  • advertising other environmental services companies,
  • affiliate sales of related products

Later, we will show you how to sign up for affiliate sales and Google ads (Adsense) as a way to generate revenue.

Market research

Will it be in demand? Who else is already doing it? Do I have a competitive advantage over them?

These are the questions you need to ask early in the process.

How do you know? It is easier online than in the physical world.  In the brick-and-mortar world, you would have to hire a market research fire to conduct a survey in the local area of your customers, compare competitor store's selection, prices and products, and try to estimate the size of the market and demand in the area.

Online, there are actually some free tools to help.

Can I get the information, products or services I need?

At what cost?
How quickly and easily?
Are there any legal issues, like copyrights?
Like any business, you need to understand your supply chain; from the sources and costs of products and services that  you will resell, to alternative products and suppliers should something change or a supplier goes out of business.