Website Design – Strategies For Building an Online Business
We can assume you are serious and ready to take the right steps to achieve increased visibility for your business in your market place. One of the most inexpensive and logical steps is to keep your business open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by having a business website on the Internet. One of the first things to be aware of when deciding how to get a business presence on the Internet is that not all websites are alike, perform equally well, and command the same amount of attention from prospective customers. And not all website designers offer as much value for your dollar. From the very start in building your online business, you should employ smart strategies for making your website visually appealing, for enabling visitors to easily navigate to your important information, for demonstrating quality in all aspects of your website’s design and content, and for optimizing your site so visitors are more likely to find it. All of these can set you apart from your competition.
Creating Visual Appeal
A beginning strategy is making sure your website has visual appeal, by selecting attractive and high-quality graphics, and once selected use these graphics to guide both your overall site design and individual page designs. Think about what type of images would catch the eye of your prospective customers, and would simultaneously help convey your business messages. Communicate your image ideas to web designers, and see if you feel comfortable they can convert your ideas into good graphics. Be sure to ask website designers to show you a portfolio of their webpage banners, business logos, in-page graphics, and related web images, so you can choose a designer capable of good graphic designs.
Your website goals should include displaying graphics that help you stand out in your industry, and that give a consistent look and feel to your website. You want your website to give you an identity your visitors will remember. An attention-grabbing banner at the top of each webpage, as well as other attractive graphics placed artistically within your webpages, will go a very long way in holding visitor interest, and in compelling them to navigate to and read the rest of your website.
Providing Easy Navigation to Important Online Information
A second important strategy to maintain visitor interest, and to increase the potential for building your business with new customers, is to provide easy ways for them to navigate to all your website pages. After all, how many times have you abandoned a website out of frustration because you could not find easy and consistent ways to get from page to page, or from one topic to another? Make a point to look at the website examples offered by website designers, as well as the designers’ own websites, to ensure they understand how to carefully craft website menus and other convenient links between webpages. Do their websites show that they can design with the visitor in mind, so you ultimately will have happy online visitors and potential customers? Do their website designs provide frequent but tastefully displayed information on how to contact the website business owners or representatives?
When you are ready to provide online shopping with your website, make a short list of features you discovered in online shopping carts that you liked as a customer. Then ask website designers what they could provide in a shopping cart to see if they can deliver a user-friendly, secure cart that meets your requirements and supports your methods of doing business. Select a designer who makes sure your website is designed with user-friendly navigation, so visitors see the information they seek and you want them not to miss. This includes your product and service information– perhaps made accessible in a well-designed online catalog– and other important web content such as special sales and events.
Demonstrating Quality Website Design and Web Content
Another strategy for promoting the success of your online business is paying sufficient attention to the details of your website design and web content. Web content includes both text and graphics on webpages. As part of your website package, your designer should ensure that your online business messages are clear, complete, and enticing– just as you would expect in any quality advertisement in a print magazine. Your website pages also should be checked for spelling or grammatical errors, since that type of care is perceived as an indication of the quality of your products and services. You want a website designer who will present you with draft webpages for your review and input, and subsequently will finalize them so each page looks complete and polished, and provides quality information that is accurate and consistent with your online business goals.
Just as you make considerable efforts to attract new customers and to keep existing customers, the website designer you want will pay attention to those details that deliver a quality website at an affordable price. Further, whether you begin with a basic or a more advanced website, your designer should incorporate ways to provide fresh online content that can appeal to your visitors and increase your potential to grow your business. Providing new, timely online content is characteristic of a quality website– one with potential for continual notice by prospective customers and search engines (see Optimizing Your Website below). These are all ways to optimize your website for satisfied viewing by visitors and your potential customers.
Optimizing Your Website
Will the website designer you select give your website at least a first level of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? SEO is the art and business of designing and marketing a website so it appears higher in the search results of desired search engines such as Google. SEO is important because it helps enable your website to be found by people looking for your types of products and services. Ask website designers if their website design offers include any SEO, and if they offer a level of SEO that fits your initial budget. Also ask them how they will enable fresh web content on your website at timely intervals. Further, ask them to explain in laymen’s terms what is meant by page optimization, reciprocal links, search engine submission, online business listings and directory submission, and website promotion. Here are some basic definitions to give you a start:
- Page Optimization: Designing and modifying elements of each of your webpages, so that search engines can easily navigate them and will find their content useful enough to promote your website higher in their ranking catalog.
- Reciprocal Links: A pair of active links– one link going from one of your webpages to a webpage on another site, and a second link from that site to one of your webpages. The more reciprocal links you establish, generally the increased potential you have for your website to appear higher in a search engine’s search results.
- Search Engine Submission: Signing a website up with a search engine company (such as Google), so they can rank the website for its interest and usefulness to people searching the Internet.
- Online Business Listings and Directory Submission: Submitting your business profile and website address (or URL) to an Internet company, for inclusion in their online business listings or directory.
- Website Promotion: Advertising your website in print media, by various online methods (such as online ads, business listings, and published articles), on the physical premises (if any) of your business, and other methods.
Each of the above considerations will be a factor in whether your business gets a good, attractive, functional website design or a poor one.
© Copyright 2008. Afford Ecommerce. All Rights Reserved.