Tips for an
successful website is something that everyone venturing into the
new arena of Internet marketing and communications wants to have.
Your website will often be a potential clients first impression
of you and your business. That being said, it is vitally important
that your website represent you in a favorable manner. Your website
is a component of your overall marketing strategy and should be
reflective of your business and current marketing presentation.
Just as your brochures and other print materials represent a level
of quality and professionalism, your website should also represent
that same level of quality and professionalism. As a point of comparison,
you most likely wouldnt have just anyone design your companys marketing
materials or for that matter, prepare your tax statements. Similarly,
it is important that the person creating your website know how to
effectively communicate both your message and style, and be able
to create an effective experience for those visiting your site.
does it really take to have your website be successful, and what
are some of the most important steps you can take to make that happen?
If you intend to have a unique domain name for your website, you
must first check to see if it is available. You can check to see
if a domain name is currently registered at http://www.internic.net/whois.html.
Set a budget for your website. It is important to know how much
you can spend on your project. In considering costs, remember that
a website is a complex matrix of text and images and a professional
execution is very important. As a generalization, the larger your
investment, the greater your return. In order to spread your investment
over time, you can also grow and expand your website gradually.
Dont forget to include costs for promotion and advertising.
Determine the purpose for your website and the intended results.
Does this purpose support the mission and vision for your company?
The number of options and variables that are possible in the design
of a website are virtually endless. Without a clear idea of the
purpose for your website, you may end up putting time, energy, and
money into a project which doesnt meet your needs. If you know in
advance the results you intend to achieve, you will be better equipped
to create a website which will achieve those results.
Consider the design and layout of your website. Is it easy to use?
Does it take too long to download? Is it easy for Internet visitors
to find information? Does it meet the needs and expectations of
your visitors? Several smaller pages eliminating the need for scrolling
are often more effective than one long page. If an Internet visitor
doesnt have a positive experience of your website, she/he probably
wont return, or wont tell someone else about it. An effective website
often creates a reason for the visitor to return. This reason can
take the form of unique information that changes on a regular basis,
interesting and useful resources, or a way for visitors to communicate
with you or with each other. Use your website to build a relationship
with your Internet audience.
Promote, promote, promote.
one will find your site if you dont let them know about it. Your
site must be posted to search engines such as Lycos, Yahoo, and
Excite. There are approximately 20 to 30 main search engines and
several hundred that are smaller or specialized. You can find an
extensive list of website submission sites, services, and resources
by searching Yahoo with Site_Announcement_and_Promotion.
your website address on all your marketing materials; business cards,
and advertising; you can even paint your address on the side of
a company vehicle. The idea is to have as many people see your site
address, and thus your website. You may also consider hiring a publicist
to help you get the word out.
If at all possible, begin your website now. The companies which
have been on the Internet the longest are those which achieve results
sooner. If you are in an industry which isnt widely represented
on the Internet yet, so much the better - youll be able to start
off with a larger market share. It's estimated that there are about
200 million people using the internet with 75% of them in North
America. Start your Internet presence today!
Steve Lillo is the President of PlanetLink, a website design and
consulting firm which specializes in creating websites which get
results. They also provide their Web Doctor Service for increasing
the effectiveness of existing websites. PlanetLink can be reached
at http://www.planetlink.com or by telephone at 415-884-2022.