You spent months pouring over the Internet in a search for the perfect domain name. You are so proud that you found the cutest, most adorable name on the planet and grabbed it under .com, .biz, .info, .org, . us, and every other “dot” imaginable. Then, you went to your brother-in-law, or found an on-line template, or actually paid a developer to create your site. It’s going to make you a fortune and you’re really excited to get it on the net and off the staging area. You’ve tweaked the photos, text, and colors and it shines. You’re set to go live and see how it does. Hold on there Mr. Trump. You need to step back for a moment and examine a few things first, before the billions roll in.
Let’s go about this in order, beginning with the basics. As with any other written product, you must look at your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. What level of viewer are you targeting? Third graders or adults? It makes a difference in the language that you use. Are your words easy to understand and are the instructions clear enough to be understood by all ages? Double and triple check your spelling. Look professional and not amateurish. Think of your image. First impressions only happen once. Rewrite whatever is needed and have people of all ages review the text for content.
Having done that, check your links. Do they all work and go to the right places? Bad links are far too common and easily corrected. If you have an e-commerce site, do the credit cards work and the auto-replies convey the right messages? You did remember the auto-replies for the various parts of the payment system, right? If not, it’s not too late to tackle that issue. Speaking of replies, how is your contact-us page and email text? Did you remember to add a sitemap for navigation? And all the appropriate disclaimers and privacy policies? Of course you did. I was just testing you.
Now review the other domain names and make sure they all forward to the main site. Then, try accessing the site on a Mac and PC using Safari, Explorer, Firefox, and Netscape. Do all the parts still work and are they all visible? Try using a dial-up service and see how fast it loads or are there too many images? Have friends and family look at the site and try every aspect as if they were a customer. How do they like it and what would they change, if given the chance?
Finally, how are people going to find you? Have you added the appropriate meta-tags and descriptors to drive traffic and the right people to your site? Have you allowed for a pay-per-click or other type of marketing program? Or will your site be the best kept secret on the net? Don’t be too anxious to make it live just yet. A poorly conceived site with bad spelling or broken links is worse than none at all. You need to spend the time to make sure it works before posting it. You can always make adjustments along the way, but fix what is wrong first. Once you’ve done all you can and decide to make it live, you can be proud of your work, sit back and relax. Now let the magic of the Internet take over and realize that you’ve just become a primetime player.
Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, “Pursuit of the Phoenix. " His latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages" which can be seen at his website, http://www.poweradbook.com Currently, he is the Marketing Director for http://www.thenurseschoice.com a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.