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Web DesignPlanning

There's a lot more to producing a successful website than just putting some text and graphics on a few pages and submitting it to a search engine. Think of opening you website as it you were expanding to open a new office or location for your business. You'd spend a lot of time considering location, cost, layout, who works there and all the other important decisions. Your website can be a 24/7 business office where the web pages interact with customers rather than yourself or your employees, but only if it's well thought out.

If you need some help with all the stages of planning, or just don't know where to start, here are some quick pointers to get you started:

The Purpose of the Web Site
The Layout and Design of the Web Site
The Contents of the Web Site
Estimate a Budget for the Web Site
Domain Name Registration and Web Site Hosting

Promoting the Website

The Purpose of the Web Site      TOP

  • The most basic question; what do you want your website to do?
  • What does your company do?
  • How can your business benefit potential customers?
  • How does your business beat the competition?
  • How will visitors interact with your website?
    • Will you include online contact forms?
  • Will you provide online customer service?


The Layout and Design of the Web Site      TOP

  • How many pages do you think the website will have?
  • Think of some other web sites with designs or layouts you like. Think about why you like them and which elements you would like to see in your site. ALso, know what you don't want, this is sometimes easier than knowing what you do want.
  • Choose a basic color scheme for the website. If you already have business stationary it's a good idea to use that as a basis. If you're website resembles the look of the business card you gave a customer, they're far more likely to link the two and remember your company
  • Choose the fonts you would like to sue. Remember you are limited to the font each person visiting the website has available on their system, but you can make very differently styled text pages using the same fonts. Aim for 1-3 main fonts throughout the website.


The Contents of the Web Site      TOP

You may want to think about the following as content for your website:

      • Text
      • Photos & graphics
      • Business cards
      • Brochures/flyers
      • Company information
      • Location
      • Maps & directions
      • Open hours
      • Privacy policy
      • Testimonials
      • Endorsements
      • Price lists
      • Credits
      • Certifications
  • Do you have a business slogan/motto?
  • Choose major topics or areas for the website
  • Decide what 'bonus information' you can include. How can you make your site a useful resource as well as a use full business tool. What 'value added' components can you offer?


Estimate a Budget for the Web Site      TOP

  • The cost of a website can vary a lot depending on exactly what you require. An basic information site of only a few pages can start as low as a few hundred dollars, where as a large website listing all your services, employees and many listings can get into the thousands of dollars. There are many variations in size, content and cost.
  • Since there are so many variations in cost, consider a custom solution put together specifically to meet you budget expectations.
  • Decide if you need to set aside a budget for maintenance of your new website


Domain Name Registration and Web Site Hosting      TOP

  • You will need to decide on a name for your website. At the early stages just a rough idea for a name is all that's needed, but it's something to think about well before completing the project.
  • Customers, or at least potential customers, now expect a business website to have it's own domain (www.your With the relative low cost of domain ownership this is now almost a requirement for a business site. Having your won domain name also gives other benefits, such as being more search engine 'friendly' (you're likely to get more traffic).
  • Consider what type of hosting you'll need. Most small business do just fine with basic hosting solutions, but if it's absolutely critical that you're site be up and running 14/7 guaranteed, then you may want to look at more expensive options.


Promoting the Website      TOP

    This is the number one way to get traffic to your website. Without traffic you're website can't work for you.
    • Description - Try preparing a short (25 word or less) description of your business and business website that will be used by and displayed in search engines. Make it stand out, this plus your URL is all a potential visitor will see in the search engines listings, so make an impression.
    • Keywords - Try preparing a list of 25-30 words or phrases that describe your business/ The phrases and words should be both general and specific, e.g. "realtor" and "San Diego homes"
  • Give visitors a reason to remember your website and return to it. think about how this can be accomplished? Do you want them to refer friends or colleges to your website, if so how?
  • Think about who you are targeting and how to reach them. If you're targeting professionals then use formal language, if you're targeting the general public use friendly and easy to understand language.
  • Think about your contact information, including email address. is much better than If someone wants to buy something provide a sales address, if they need customer service give them a different appropriate address.

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