If I ever have to recommend what we should know before developing a business site, I would recommend these two main concepts; web objectives and personas, which really hit the nail on the head.
Pretty web design without objective or purpose does not generate revenue. I have seen websites that focus heavily on eye-catchy design and effect with no clear-cut purpose and experienced this myself. A lot of my friends are computer geeks and graphic designers so most of their sites are truly visually stunning. They utilize lots of new HTML5 animations, jQuery, Parallax technique on their pages. However, these websites are really difficult to navigate through. Moreover, the truth is, the viewers get confused and do not know about the products or services that the websites are offering. As a result, we rarely generate revenues and sales.
The concept of Personas has helped me a lot after I have learned about it. This is a very interesting concept and it shows me how I can improve my website to target potential customers. With three to seven personas on a website, we would be able to cover the majority of an audience without being too specific.
Example of personas could be millennial couples, office workers, nature lovers, aspiring artists, art students, agencies, business start-up. By knowing our target personas, we would be able to focus our contents, messages to fit their personas and draw them to our sites.
The take away would be before developing a website, make sure that you have some objectives that you want to achieve from your website. It could be gaining recognition, generating more sales volume, and etc. But please at least try to have one.
In addition, personas would definitely help guide the direction of your marketing and design campaigns. So, try to form them too.