If you’ve decided to pursue a website for your business, chances are you’re a little intimidated with the whole ordeal of getting from a blank page to a fully functional web page.
Here are a few tips to make the process of finding a website designer, building the site, and optimizing the finished product easier.
Find a reputable designer: After shopping for prices at your local website design firms, you may find that the best option will be to go with the cheapest. But before you hand the reigns to a relative or a friend, make sure you’ve done your homework.
Browse their portfolio, and study the work they’ve done. Do the websites they’ve developed show up when you search them on Google? Are the designs professional, clean, and effective? Most importantly, would you be confident with your company logo on some of the projects they’ve completed?
Remember, a poorly designed, poorly optimized website may do more harm than good. To ensure new and existing clients are confident in your business, make the investment of time and money the first time around.
Have a purpose: When you have chosen a website designer, make sure they know exactly what you want. If you’re looking to sell online, be ready to present them with an inventory list. Spend time on keyword research to ensure that your website will appear on the most searched phrases for your product. Go over layout, presentation, and everything that makes up an effective site.
HTML or Flash: Depending on the designer, they may offer you the ability to develop a Flash-driven website. Flash is the web’s version of an animated movie, with intense graphics, colorful pages, and music. While it may sound great, there are a few things to consider.
Music, animation and everything that comes with it are great for an action movie, but for those looking for information fast, Flash can often be an annoyance. Slow load times, complex designs and a repetitive jingle may send your visitors to another client – that is, if they were able to find you in the first place.
Flash based websites are often extremely weak performers on search engines, leaving your fun, exciting website a ghost town.
Stick with HTML – or it’s growing new cousin HTML5 – and leave your visitors feeling confident.
Now What?: After launching your website, you might think the work has been done when in reality, it has only just begun. Now is the time to begin driving traffic to your beautiful new online home.
Ask your website design firm if they offer search engine optimization services, and if they don’t, have them point you in the direction of someone who does. While some be campaigns can be quite expensive, expect to budget about $750-$1000 for an effective SEO project.
For businesses operating locally, stick to local search terms. For a carpet cleaning company in New York, spending thousands of dollars to appear on the first page of a broad search like “carpet cleaning company” is likely a wasted investment. Instead, stick to something specific, like “carpet cleaning company new york.”
Be On Your Toes: While this article will have you on the path to a successful online experience, it’s important to remember that you should never consider your website a finished product. Keep in close contact with your website design firm, and keep up with the latest trends and strategies.