These days, your website has become your business’s main advertising campaign. The internet is an excellent way to promote your yourself…with it’s ease of accessibility and vast worldwide audience, it’s reaching power is unlimited.
The main benefit of the internet is the amount of information a website can contain, without the size restraints, cost and inability to update information that traditional advertising mediums have.
Where do you begin? Firstly think about the what you want the site to do for you. Can it be a static site that can be easily updated by me when you have new content to add, or would you prefer a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress where you can log in from anywhere in the world and make the changes yourself?
Your website can contain a huge amount of information – the trick is not to overload the user and to make the site easy to navigate, simple to understand, fast to download and attractive to look at.
You may want to include a shopping cart where your clients can buy your products online. Perhaps your site may contain a form that allows clients to send you information about themselves in order for you to better service them or order goods online. A cheaper alternative to a buy online system is to create an order form including customer contact details so that your customers can give you their credit card information over the phone instead.
Some sites contain newsletters that are updated on a monthly basis, or have a “latest news” section to inform their clients of special events, which not only saves paper and printing costs, but also postage. More common is a blog type website such as this one, which allows you to inform your clients quickly about new products and the latest business news.
Click here to see some of the websites I’ve designed recently. Some I’ve designed and created as WordPress websites (which clients can amend themselves), others have been designed by me and put together and programmed by other companies I work with, and many have been completely hardcoded and designed by me.
how do people find your site
Once your site is online you can register with a number of Search engines such as Yahoo, Lycos and Infoseek – a service which can be free of charge or cost a minimal amount.
Meta tag is the name given to the code which is hidden within each page of your website. This code gives a brief description, as well as keywords and phrases to describe your site. Then, when a user types in search criteria using a word that appears in your meta tag’s keywords, your web site’s name appears along with your meta tag’s description and gives them a direct link to your site.
Another way of online “advertising” is through reciprocal links from similar or related sites where you place a link or advertising banner on your site, and in return they advertise you in a similar manner.
Include your web address in newspaper/newsletter adverts as a link to more information, costing you less in advertising space.
Use write-ups in papers, magazines, newsletters, personal advertising (on notice boards, shop front) to promote your site, as well as making sure it appears on all your stationery, especially businesscards.
designing your site
A web site is generally made up of at least two looks – the home page and a general content page. The home page is designed to draw the viewer in with it’s attractive and welcoming look. It will possibly containing welcome text and a brief description about the company or individual, as well as having links to the main areas within the site:
The look of this front page is what will draw people to continue on. If the site looks unprofessional, then the company is considered to be unprofessional also. If the graphics take too long to download, then this can dissuade the user from continuing further also, so graphics must be a reasonable size and the file compressed as far as is possible without causing the graphics to “break up”.
From the home page there are a number of links to more specific information, with each content page having similar elements to the home page to keep it looking consistent.
A simple site could include…
- Information about the Company;
- About the Product or Service;
- Contact Us or Feedback page
- Useful Links (to other sites); and
- Latest News (general news, latest products, etc).
Most of my private sites are created with an initial brief over the phone or in person, with the remainder being via the internet. It’s here we work out the structure of the site and special requirements ie. forms.
You may have a corporate image you want me to follow. If there isn’t an existing design style or photos available, I source the photos myself and come up with a unique design for you. Any text you want to appear within the site needs to be put in a Word document and emailed to me, along with key words and a brief description for search engines. I’ll give you some ideas and give you an example to follow.
I then go ahead and design the look of the site and the home and content pages are emailed to you so that you can view them through your email package. Once I have your feedback and any changes you wanted are made, I create the remaining graphics and then the page templates.
The text is dropped into the template, then I place your site online within my website for you to check. Minor amendments are done and the site is placed live under your own web address.
So there you go…website creation made easy and pain free!