Of course before you start any testing or promotion you need to ensure your measurement systems are in place. The more you understand about what your customers need and how they react the more effectively you can market to them. Both Google and Yahoo! provide good measurement of PPC campaigns. But, in addition, you should have a general web statistics package. Google Analytics is an excellent free service which should be the automatic choice for small companies.
While setting up your website and determining your marketing strategies, don't forget to save all the information you are collecting.
Visitors want quick information but also the ability to go into detail when they choose. Search engines mainly index text when the human might get information quicker from a picture. You, as the owner of the website, are anxious to get the sale, or lead, that is your major site objective and are not very interested in providing information that the visitor may like but that does not directly lead to a sale.
The majority of web designers start from a background in the graphic arts. So your page will look nice but you need to ensure it fulfils the business goals. Start from the web planning template but, then, see here suggestions for your design brief.
Optimising your website
You should include in the design brief a requirement that all significant pages be optimised for search engines. However this is a requirement that goes beyond pure design. Whoever is writing the content is equally responsible for ensuring the search engines get the 'right' content.
Most website owners start to spend money on promotion as soon as their website goes live. However no one knows quite how visitors will react to different scenarios and web designs. Even the experts can be wrong. Your starting point should always be that any site is capable of improvement. The need is to find out as soon as possible the major improvements required so that future spending on promotion gives a better return on investment.
The key measures for effective performance are:
Before you spend further on web development and promotion, you should know how much it will cost you to attract sufficient visitors to achieve a conversion and how much profit that customer will generate on average. You then have a basis for forecasting future profit. If you don't like what the picture shows, you need to re-look at the strategy and alternatives.
The quickest - and cheapest - test is to use real visitors and measure their reactions. Pay per Click advertising from Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search Marketing provide the ideal vehicle. They will generate visitors more quickly than optimisation for natural listings and you can try more different key phrases more quickly. More detail on PPC advertising is available here.