Friday, February 17, 2012

Do you need a website for your business?

How to get started and what you need to know.

In this world of ours, it is no longer an option – having a website is one of the most important things you can do for your business. People look online for everything and for all types of reasons. To do research on a company or service, to find answers to questions, as well as to see if you are who you say you are. Even if you have a Facebook page or twitter all the time – the importance of having an actual website should not be underestimated.
If you want a functional – durable website that will give you what you want for your business, there are a few things you need to do.

The 5 steps to building a website right...
  1. Establish You Goal.
    • Your goal is uniquely yours, planning a website is no different than any other marketing strategy. You must decide what you want this website to do – are you going to use it for ecommerce or for branding your business. Do you want to give information that will help potential clients choose you when going to a professional? Are your clients the general public or are you selling to businesses? What group(s) are you trying to attract, and the list can go on and on…

  2. Give yourself an education
    • If you are not familiar with the internet lingo, you need to learn. Do you know what a domain name is and how to register your domain? Are you familiar with hosting and what a host does? If you find the right person to design your website, they can help you understand how the process goes, but it doesn’t hurt to read some articles and understand the language before you go out and hire someone. Know the difference between a template, a customized site and a true custom website. Knowing this and the right questions to ask will help you save a lot of money. Not everyone wants a custom website; they would be happy with something less expensive, but you need to know the difference.

  3. Create a flow chart (outline)
    • It is really important that you plan out the structure of your website and in order to do that you need to know what pages you will have linked to your home page. There are standard pages that should be on all websites: about, contact, testimonials or reviews to name a few. So let's say you want to have an online jewelry store the flow chart would look like the outline below. As you can see this website will have 10 pages. 5 links would go on every page, and the  secondary products' page (Bracelets) would have links as well.  
      • Home Page
      • About
      • Our products
        • Bracelets
          • Bangles
          • Bands
        • earrings
        • Necklaces
      • Testimonials
      • Contact Us

  1. Write copy for each page with keywords
    • Now that you know the pages you want, it is time to start structuring the content of the pages. You will need to do some research so you know what your client is putting in for searches. These would be your keyword. There are two types of keywords, simple and long tailed keywords you want both within the copy of your website. A simple keyword is one or two words like: website design, a long-tailed  keyword would read like: Website developer in Utah.

      You want to have a minimal amount of copy on the first/home page. You know the saying sell the sizzle not the steak. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you home page solves a problem. Why do people need what you have and solve that need within the text of your home page. A new visitor will only spend a short amount of time looking at you website once they find you. If that interests them they will access links other pages and that is where you can put the meat of your content.
  1. Building the website
    • This is the 10,000. Dollar question. How are you going to get your website built? You have two choices; you can try to build it yourself – or hire someone. Some hosting companies on the internet offer the use of their templates, or you can build your own website using their system. The problem with this is first you do not own that website. You are simply leasing, because you have to host on their server so it is essentially their website. They will also register the domain name for you – so they also own the domain name. On top of that if you do not have an artistic side, you will end up with a website that gives a bad impression.

      The problem comes in when you decide you don’t like their hosting service, if you do leave you lose the website as well as your domain name. All the effort you have put in order to market your business and get visitors will go down the drain. Not a good scenario.

      The next option is to have someone build it for you or at least design it. It may cost you more upfront, but I guarantee it will be less than you will pay for the "all in one package." First off, the all in one (website builder – host) will cost you double or triple the amount monthly much more than a regular host would.

      Another great reason to hire a professional is that they can point you in the right direction. They will give you an image you can be proud of and if the web developer has experience, they will also know how to search engine optimization your website. A certified web designer can help you understand the ins and outs of marketing on the internet.  Make sure you find a designer that is willing to answer all of your questions no matter how stupid you think they are. This person should also be able to direct you to a good host – and teach you how to register your domain name for minimal cost (12.00 or less a year).

      You should feel comfortable with this person; they should be happy to answer all questions you have, last but not least make sure they have experience and happy customers.

      If you choose the right professional going in you, will have an ongoing relationship that you will value for years to come.
    To Exciting Opportunities & Endless Possibilities!

    Pamela Jacob - Artista Design

    Providing Creative Solutions & Amazing Results