This article presents an overview of the most important things to consider in order to implement the best possible website for your needs.
- Your website is how the world will view you so you MUST have it professionally designed, just as you would a brochure or booklet.
- Never get a techie to design your site, they will choose function over form.
- Use a designer template if you are on a tight budget.
- If using animations, such as flash, keep them to a minimum
Note: Some websites use Flash extensively; however, it is a bad idea to have too much flash on a site as search engines will always have problems reading the text from such sites and as a result do not yield as much search engine traffic.
Note Also: You should know what sections/features you want before discussing your requirements with a web design agency as often the main sections influence how the site will function and this may affect the design of the site.
Content Management System: Most businesses need to be able to change website content on a regular basis. A content management system therefore is a must for any business website. There are several off the shelf content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla which are comprehensive and well established systems however they can restrict design and can be cumbersome to use from an end users point of view. Most good web design companies will have their own very simple and intuitive CMS that can be tailored for a specific client’s needs and does not hinder the design of the site in any way, if a bespoke system is used make sure you try before you buy to ensure you feel comfortable using it. You should also ask is this system or can this system be Search Engine Optimised.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Contrary to popular belief, SEO is a not rocket science. Your site must be search engine ready to give it the best chance possible of being matched for a particular search term. The name of the site, the title of the page, headings and page content are all factors in this, but none of this work matters unless your site is well indexed by search engines, and that means getting as many inward links to your site as possible.
The responsibility for getting inward links should be taken on by the customer and targets should be set to achieve good results. Some common ways of getting links might include:
- Direct Link exchanges with customers, suppliers, partners etc.
- Placing links on free and paid for directories (DMOZ, Yahoo etc.)
- Placing links on social media such as boards, blogs, youtube, linkedin etc.
Once the site is optimised there are 2 more factors which determine how many hits your site will get:
- How many visitors are searching for the search terms in questions.
- How seriously your competitors have taken their SEO
Social Networks / Media Websites
Depending on the industry there are various social media sites that should be utilised:
LinkedIn: For creating and expanding your business contacts network
Facebook: For interacting with customers, get feedback, have fun, run promotions. Do not create a Facebook account or group if you are not going to have the time to get involved with it.
YouTube: Promotional, Instructional videos, can apply to most industries
Twitter: Great to offer discounts and give short messages to customers
Bebo: More of a teens social network than Facebook, so depending on your market…
Blogs: Very worthwhile commenting on blogs articles dealing with the particular industry. This should not be spam but a legitimate comment. Most comments allow you to specify your website. It is also worthwhile to creating your own blog on sites such as wordpress, blogger etc.
Boards: Get involved on relevant boards but never post a link to your site, rather have it in your signature, people and more importantly google will use this link.
ISSUU: Great site for presenting booklets etc.
N.B. All sites allow you to link back to your own site so they all increase your SEO which is hugely important.