Once you have figured out your what your focus should be, think of ideas on how you would like to see your site and sketch out each page. Start with the home page; this page should be about 3-5 paragraphs long. It should state who you are and what you do and guide the viewer to the rest of the site.
Keep in mind that the average web browser will decide whether to leave or stay on your site in the first 6 seconds! So get their attention, but don‘t scare them away! (See our other article on how to write good copy)
Your website doesn’t have to be fancy to be great, it should just be clean, informative and easy to navigate. Remember the 6 second rule. Here are some basic guidelines for content to include in your site:
- A complete description of your products and/or services “Services page” The more information you give your visitors, the more informed they will be when they contact you.
- Pictures, everyone loves pictures! Every page on your site should have at least one picture or graphic. But be sure they are related to your business. Depending on your industry, you might even want to have a “gallery" or “portfolio” page.
- Have a “Packages” or “Pricing" If you don’t list your prices, your prospects might go somewhere that does. Ever been in a store with no price tags? In cases like this, many people think that the products are too expensive or that the company will try to get them to buy something they don’t really need. At the very least, you should list a starting range and maybe a description of your average or most popular package.
- Testimonials. People want to feel that you can actually produce what you claim. Get testimonials from past clients and put their names on it and where they live, as not to seem like you made them up. i. e. Bob Smith - Hampton, Virginia
- Give a brief history/bibliography. This is usually the “About Us” page. State your experience, why you got into the business, etc … Why should one hire/buy from you? It is OK to embellish a bit for readability, but don’t lie! If you are a member of any professional organizations, list those here too.
- FAQ’s … Answers to frequently asked questions is another good thing to have on your website …. This will add valuable information to your site and save you time in having to answer the same questions to every new client.
- Links to friends and colleges in related fields is another great thing to have on your website. This makes you appear to have greater experience to the prospective client. And offers valuable information to your visitors. Of course, you should not trade links with your competition ;-) Look around, I would be willing to bet that in most cases, your competition has some sort of a link referral system.
- Finally, the “Contact” page … make sure your contact information is easy to find … it doesn’t hurt to have the phone number and/or email contact at the bottom of every page and then have detailed info on the “Contact” page. Always, have a phone number AND an email contact. You would be surprised how many people surf at night and like to send email requests. You should also have your location somewhere on your website, so people know where you are, even if you work from home and don’t want to advertise your home address, you can put the city you are in. Or you can get a local P. O. Box. Most people like to work with local businesses.
Once your site is up, you are only half way there, now you have to market it! What good is this great site that you have spent so much time and money on if no one can find it?!
Website marketing can be difficult and time consuming. Here are some tips to get you started.
List your website address in ALL your printed promotional materials. Business cards, postcards, brochures, flyers, etc … And list it in your email signature so that you will be advertising your website with every email you send.
Posting on Message boards related to your industry is another way you can promote your site and establish yourself as an expert in your field. (boards that will let you post your website address/url in your signature)
Then you will want to submit your site to the search engines. Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask Jeeves are the ‘top dogs’ right now.
Consider hiring an SEO expert to do monthly search engine submissions for you and try to update your site often so it doesn't become stale. It also helps to optimize at least your home page for your most relevant keywords and phrases. (See our other article on how to write copy search engines love)
You will also want to try and get your site listed on other related websites that may already have established rankings with the search engines. The more ways a potential customer has of finding your website, the better. This is “Link Popularity”.
Writing articles related to your field and submitting them to related websites and article bank sites (such as www.EzineArticles.com and www.Article99.com) is another great way to build inbound links to your site.
Again, all this can take time and effort and sometimes money but it will ultimately pay off in the long run.
© Plush Designs - 2005 All Rights Reserved
Plush Designs offers affordable website and graphic design and search engine marketing services.
Check out our website for more details. http://www.PlushDesigns.net
Don't get left behind! Isn't it time to get your business online?