FAQs - Before you Start-Where to Start
Basic Quick Checklist, Tips, How-to Design, Build, Promote a Business Website
Basics of Building a Business Website
See also Improve Your Web Site.
To Build a web site that sells and improves your business is not as simple as fake-experts tell you. Regardless, you must see the BIG PICTURE and main tasks to be done.
Do it RIGHT or waste about 3 to 4 years and have lots of problems. We are warning you, and GUARANTEE that if you don't do most of this correctly, your site will be a failure. Competition is ROUGH.
You can't just "throw up a quick website" and succeed, unless you are mostly local, and the only provider of a high-demand unique product with a brand that almost everyone in your territory has heard of..
Promotion is key to success too. Site promotion is highly related to site design.
Keep it simple, clean and professional. Most successful sites are relatively plain. A very successful one in Europe is almost ugly, but endearing, Ryanair.com
Tips on How to Start- How to Make a Website
There is a LOT to know about doing a business site right. Managers make a lot of common mistakes. Common mistakes include following advice of wanna-be experts, and thinking that CMS site generators-Wordpress are better (they are NOT), using Flash and images instead of text, worrying too much about looks, not near enough on target segments, appeals, ad-copy content, fast navigation, marketing strategy and credibility.
The Absolute Basics are:
1) BEFORE you begin, realize that MOST of the information on "how to" on site design and marketing is WRONG. Beware of voluminous scammers and experts that don't know what they are talking about. Avoid most SEO and PPC management companies.
2) Study, research competition, refine marketing strategy and budget carefully for both site design and promotion.
3) Test all your appeals, hooks, headlines, theories, keywords using Google's Keyword tool and some test ads using Adwords, all based on your target customer segments (types) and plan their pathways through the site, their sections or landing pages.
4) Study hard on the basics of advertising and especially headlines.
5) DO NOT use a website generator, WYSIWYG, Site Builder, Dreamweaver, CMS, or a hosted cart and probably not Wordpress for your main business site. (you can use Wordpress for a blog or articles adjunct, and to help get started). You can have a user-edit CMS area put in your business site later.
6) Use an independent high-rated hosting company for your main HTML/PHP/Java hybrid site.
7) Search and select a good quality template (not just on looks!) to be customized by a professional web-designer. Be sure the designer approves of the quality of coding.
8) Select a professional web designer with at least 10 years in business in your country, who has a web marketing arm and broad capabilities, especially on Maintenance, repairs, Forms, shopping carts, payment systems etc.. Choose a developer who emphasizes least Long-Term costs, who designs for cheaper updates and upgrades and testing. Hire someone who looks out for you on many technical and webmaster functions, most of which you know little about (backups, version control, copyrights, compatibility, server issues, control panels, scripts, security,etc.)
9) Choose your domain name and trademark very carefully, and hire a good logo designer.
10) Be careful to select the right staff for liaison to the web designer and their promotion group.
12) Decide by your marketing strategy, budget and resources whether you will go primarily Organic or Paid Promotion. We suggest a hybrid approach of both emphasizing one. This dictates a lot about your site design and staffing, training, etc.
13) OUTLINE and Draw your site on paper, with a path per target segment, then type it up with content draft separately from the Outline on Word or Power Point.
13) Plan for cycles of improvement of the site by testing using Ad campaigns testing headlines and appeals, features to emphasize or reframe, over about 1 to 2 years.
14) Use the research, testing and improvement process to improve your marketing strategy and learn more about your prospects and appeals, what they are looking for, and refine your niche and positioning and image. (A real business can NOT skip this).
15) Put up a quick and easy temporary website if yours is going to take three or four months to finish, but don't put much into the "placeholder" site except content you want to propagate. Don't spend much on the temporary site and don't spend over two or three days on it. You can use it also as a type of draft of your REAL business site that is in progress, to REPLACE the temporary site. (There are several REASONS to do this. Cheap sites break, get hacked and are inflexible.
16) Buy and have professional pictures taken that make your site look attractive and custom.
17) Avoid flashy, moving, glitzy or mysterious home page or complex pieced-together backgrounds.
18) Don't get caught up much in Social Media marketing. It's usually not great for selling. We suggest using real business methods like advertising, push marketing, newsletters, emails, sales people, card packs, etc.. But MOSTLY plan for Big Search Engines (Google, Bing) as the main source of inquiries.
19) Use this Web-Success site for examples and tips on all of this, and choosing good graphics, managing graphics, best liaison, proper planning , and every step from registering to promoting your business online. Here is a good New-site Checklist.
20) To get it all working together in the earliest stage,like turning on your site, read How to get it all working. Include a Web Designer, Even if only as a Consultant, to save tons of headaches. For web business growth and web success, a good site developer will help you grow and keep you out of trouble, designing for growth, updates and making repairs easier. Only with BG Design can you find the level of knowledge and experience to save you money and avoid wasting years.. Contact us if you are serious about business.
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