Wireframe

Website Design Matters

Well, what else would you expect us to say? But that doesn’t make it any less true; website design matters to the success of your site, the plethora of exceptions to the rule notwithstanding. When visitors land on your site their first impression will greatly effect the amount of time they spend on that page and on your site. And if you look like you slapped the site together overnight, expect that visitors will see you as a fly-by-night operation – and keep their credit card or contact information to themselves. So what goes into designing a website that invites people to stick around? Here are some simple guidelines you can use even if you are using a “website in a box” template.

Continue reading
cartoon man with target on belly

Are You A Moving Target?

I just visited two websites – completely different businesses, different web developers, different industries – with the exact same problem; horrible navigation. Now I don’t normally like to start on such a negative note, but these were especially egregious examples of really bad user experience. The navigation links on both of these websites were quite literally moving! On the first, I needed to attempt several times before successfully clicking the “contact us” link. On the next, the entire navigation menu was scrolling horizontally.If you want people to connect to you make it easy! A clean, simple design that allows users to quickly and easily find out how to contact you is always a must. Save the “cool” effects for non-content; aesthetics, backgrounds, etc.

Continue reading
confusing road signs

Marketing Your Website

One of the biggest questions clients ask is “How will people find me once my website is up and running?” Our clients are mainly small businesses. The first thing I encourage them to do is to think about ways that they can get the word out about their online venture that they may be more familiar with. Old School Before you do anything else, make sure your URL is everywhere your business name appears; business cards, letterhead, advertisements, email signature, etc. Networking – get out there and meet people and hand them your business card and encourage them to visit your website. Many networking events are free or low-cost. Advertising – this can be done via traditional print media and is often something people forget to do when they start building their online business. This, of course, requires you develop an advertising budget and may require you to get creative to…
Read More

Continue reading

Choosing An Effective Domain Name

Selecting THE PERFECT name for your online business can often be a daunting task, especially if THE PERFECT domain name is already taken. So here are some things to consider in selecting your domain. Keywords Our natural inclination is often to use our name as the URL; janesmith.com, joeshmoe.org. And in some instances that makes sense. If you run a business that is well known already, a domain name that matches your business name will be where your current customers will look for you. But what about customers who don’t know you – yet? Using keywords, words that are relevant to who you are and what you do, will help boost you in search results. Let’s take a photographer as an example. Often these types of businesses are set up using the person’s name since they are their business. But JaneExample.com isn’t going to tell search engines anything about the…
Read More

Continue reading
Register Domain

Be The Master Of Your Domain: Domain Name Registration

Too often I get phone calls from business owners who no longer own their domain names. “How can this happen?” you ask. More easily than you realize. When you hire someone to develop your website, often they will be the one to register your domain name and sometimes they do it under their own name. You’ve just made your first big mistake. Think about your car. When you bought your car, who’s name is on the title? If it’s not your name, you don’t own the car and whoever does can drive off with it at any time. By having someone else register your domain under their name you are giving them the title to your domain. It doesn’t matter if the domain is www.yourbusinessname.com. They registered it in their name. They own it. This might not be a problem if you are dealing with an ethical and long-lived web…
Read More

Continue reading

How Do I Get My Business Online?

The first step to successful online marketing is to identify your goal. If you are a merchant, you will obviously want to sell your products online on an eCommerce site. For service providers, it might be to build your “brand”; establishing who you are and your expertise online. Once you know what kind of website you need, you will need to register your domain (the name of your site) and set up a hosting account. If you will be selling online you will need to work with a provider that will support the kinds of services you need for your business, like shopping carts and database management for example. Naturally, you will need to develop content – the information on your website. The information on your site will need to be relevant for your intended audience. eCommerce websites will need to have merchandise organized into categories and subcategories. Brochure site…
Read More

Continue reading
Selecting A Host Provider

Selecting A Host Provider

What is a host provider and how do you select one for your website? A host provider is a company that will allow you to upload your files onto their server making them accessible via the web. Some will host your files for free, but are these plans the best solution for you? If you are running a business, take a close look. Often free hosting plans require you to allow ads to be placed on your site. And you may be limited in what URLs you can use. So instead of sending customers to www.MyProfessionalWebsite.com you are sending them to www.MyUnprofessionalFreeAccount.MyProfessionalWebsite.com You need to be equally smart when looking at paid hosting accounts. Does your host provide you will all the features you will need, now and in the future? Conversely, are you paying for features you don’t and won’t need? Before you lock yourself in, talk to your…
Read More

Continue reading