Monday, July 31, 2006

Building A Web Site

What you include on your website and its appearance will of course depend on what services or products you are providing and what you want the site to do for your business. It can be tempting to try and be everything to everyone - just because you are on the web and can, potentially, reach the whole world. This is probably not how you focus the rest of your marketing strategy but the lure of the web is a weird and wonderful thing.

When you start planning your website the most important thing is to look at it from the customer's perspective. A successful user experience is the main reason people return to a company. If your website looks amateurish, is confusing to navigate, does not deliver what it says it does or makes it difficult for your customers to achieve what they want on the site they won't use your services.

The majority of businesses do not need complicated websites, and thank goodness the craze for flashing text, cheesy music playing in the background and images jumping around all over the page has past. Fashion in general has a big part to play in this and the look this season is clean, uncluttered and easyon the eye.

Websites get out of date both in terms of appearance and information. You should aim to review your website every 6 months. This is not part of your regular updating. This is to ensure that it is still in line with your core business strategy, your customer demands, and is promoting the right image.

Too many websites lie untouched for years with their owners complaining no one ever uses them. There are good reasons for this and it is in your interest to find out why and address those issues. A good website can really enhance your reputation, attract new customers, retain old ones, enable you to learn more about customers, create new revenue streams, increase referrals, develop brand loyalty, improve customer service and enhance your other methods of advertising.

So whether you are working on your first website or revamping an existing one, tap into the experience of your web designer. If they are worth their salt they will know what works and what doesn't on the web, will be able to advise you on how to present your content and what you can do to make your site a cut above the rest.

The relationship with your designer should be a partnership. You need to be open with them about what you want to from your site and provide them with as much information as you can about your business - how it works and where you see it going in the future. They'll also want to know your unique selling points, your main competitors, you company image and personality and your market (both traditional and target).

With all this information in hand your designer will be able to make sensible and relevant suggestions and recommendations. In addition, having a clear of idea of what you want to achieve will also put you in a good position to judge the success of the project.

Getting a good website is not an exact science but good planning and research will give you a head start.

EastLake Marketing Group is a marketing firm that specializes in working with small businesses. Our marketing consultants can create innovative strategies that will help accelerate your business on a low-to-moderate budget. Contact EastLake Marketing Group today for a free one hour consultation by phone or in person. 916.454.3022-office www.eastlakemarketing.com

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