So, how does a business leverage the internet?
The first and most important decision you will make is choosing the right website development company to build your website. This is a difficult task in itself, and certainly over the years we have had clients come to us from some of the most respectable web design companies in Australia and the US, and their main gripe is that their website was not anything like the featured websites: in fact, the websites produced for these customers were crap but after the 50% deposit was paid, they had little choice but to settle and move on.
Secondly, you then need to ask yourself, ‘who is my market and what sort of website do my website visitors expect?’ A new business might find this hard to answer because they do not have the advantage of looking at their customer base for the answer but unless you know your market, the effectiveness of your website will be hit and miss.
Based on your market, you need to work out what keywords and content is appropriate to your business. Ie what keyword phrases will a person type into a search engine to find your business and the set of keyword phrases that you develop will determine the domain name and website content that you develop: in fact, will be central to your website structure, choice of images, and website code. Even if you don't think that your website needs to rank on search engines, it is critical that searching for your business name or community group name, that your website comes up on page one of the search engines. Otherwise, even your loyal members will find it hard to find your website.
There are some businesses that will even change names or build micro websites to leverage the free traffic of the internet. Search engines account for the majority of website traffic and most webmasters who add links on their website find these links by using a search engine. So, if your business can't be found, it doesn't exist to the rest of the world.
An effective website should take in consideration all of the following;
- Design - Creating a consistent, professional website that compliments existing company branding and is appealing to the target audience
- Layout - choosing the right layout and link navigation for the written content. Special attention needs to be paid to the homepage design and content.
- Compatibility and Usability - ensuring that website is renders properly on different browsers and computers and is compliant to XHTML standards and menus, videos, flash animation, etc work properly.
- Speed - creating a website that is fast loading and is hosted on reliable servers with a good connection to the internet.
- Search engines - to ensure that programming is compatible to search engines and search engine traffic maximized in the design of website
- Business Integration - that the website compliments existing business needs and forms, autoresponders, and back end interfaces are designed to fit in with business processes.
- Implementation and Testing - that the website is implemented on the webserver and tested for broken links, errors and functionality
- Hosting - reliable hosting on premium equipment and datacentre supported by qualified technicians
- Review - that website statistics are routinely reviewed and stategies developed to improve your website
- Planning - website should have short term and long term goals
- Quality Programming - working with expert website developers with a passion for computing
- Common Sense - how the site links from page to page, names of categories, helping users find the information quickly
We generally recommend that customers who have small websites that are not updated regularly to develop static HTML website because they are cheaper to host, have far less maintenance issues and are 100% compliant to web standards, meaning that they are better for search engines. Larger websites that requires frequent updating or other specialized features, should choose a web content management system. A CMS website holds images and content in a database and an interface is created to allow users to update the database, and hence the website. Our CMS website solution has been specifically designed to incorporate keywords, page descriptions, title tags, url names and alt tags.