An online presence is very important for any type of business: it's probably the most cost-effective type of advertising available today. Numerous small firms use the web to sell their products and services while many companies don't really see the web as a marketplace (yet they do have a website that plays the role of an “online business card"). No matter what you want to do, inform your clients or sell products online, you need to know a few “website basics" in order to be successful.
Basically there are two major types of websites: informative and commercial. If you are just starting out, depending on the nature of your business, you will either plan an informative website meant to attract and encourage clients to inquire your services or you will develop a commercial website that will sell your products online. Some entrepreneurs create websites that are both informative and commercial, especially when they want to promote products that are new on the market or that could bring important benefits to the users. All in all, the Web is a market and a website. . . your most important online marketing tool. You can achieve online success respecting the following five factors:
1) Register your domain. As a matter of fact, you should first pick a name for your domain. This name should be closely related to your business and easy to remember. Avoid long, difficult domain names such as: allideasforpartydesignuk.com or names that say nothing about your business such as frght88.net.
2) Chose your hosting company. “Free hosting" is not an option for serious online businesses. There are many companies offering cheap web hosting services. But if you are serious about online business you should choose a reliable hosting company, one that offers 24 hour support and has a good reputation. Probably such a company will be a little bit more expensive than others, but what are a few bucks when we are talking website accessibility and security?
3) Website design comes after you've developed a business plan and a corporate identity standard with clear visual identity guidelines. You'll design your website according to these documents. If you hire a professional, make sure he or she will design your website respecting your visual identity guidelines, the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) standards and create the search engine optimized pages. For more information on this topic, please review: Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
4) Promoting your website requires a long-term marketing plan. You should take in consideration all probable online marketing possibilities: from basic web submission to pay per click, submission in paid directories, press releases and article submissions, blogging and posting in forums, opt-in email marketing and so on.
5) Last, but not least, think web maintenance. You'll need to keep your website actual, or else you'll lose important points in the SERP and your visitors will consider it irrelevant, uninteresting and not worth another visit.
Well, these are most important factors influencing your online success. Each factor has its importance and will play a major role to determine your website's visibility and usability. But remember: these are basic factors. Creating a successful website is a far more complex task than just registering the right domain name, choosing a reliable host and creating a pretty layout. After you master the basics you should focus on in-depth website analysis to determine whether your goals will be achieved or not and concentrate on marketing, advertising and customer support.
Remember: competition doesn't sleep. There are no guarantees that you'll be successful, unless you work for your success.
Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of HighPowerSites and many other web projects. HighPowerSites is the easiest do-it-yourself website builder on the web. No programming or design skill required. Get your own website online in just 5 minutes with HighPowerSites.com at: http://www.highpowersites.com/