You have a flourishing business - everything is in its place. You just miss one important piece of marketing: an Internet Presence a website. Like everything in business, getting a website needs planning. Getting an effective website needs even more planning.
Here are some basic things to know and plan:
What is the www or the internet? Basically a network of websites from all over the world you can access via your computer for which you need an internet connection and a browser. Internet connections are available from ISPs, and most of the popular browsers are free downloads from the internet. Just like writing/typing an address on a postal envelope, you type the website address in the browser beginning with http://www. and ending with either .com, .net, .org, .biz, .nz, .uk, etc. So if you want to access the microsoft website, you would type http://www.microsoft.com in the browser and hey, presto! You get all the information about microsoft and its products on your browser. Just click on the available links and you are on your way.
Your website will be a bunch of pages all linked together via hyperlinks. You can ofcourse have a one-page website or as many pages as you like - depending on the amount of information you want to share with your visitors. Hyperlinks are text or images pointing to another page, just like the heading of this article points to my website.
As the web has grown, so has the types of people who access it and how they access it. As we say, it is impossible to please everybody. It is very difficult to design a website which will be accessible to all. Carefully choose your content and design, keeping in mind who your target audience is and what type of equipment they use. Equipment here means the computer and other hardware and also includes the software used for connecting to the internet and browsing it.
Designing your website means knowing your audience and their requirements.
Now that introductions are over, lets get down to the core of your website: Content. The most important aspect of any website, content is the one thing that will keep your visitors at your site and keep bringing them back. The content should depend on what you want to let your visitors know - about the company, the products, the services. Keep the content interesting, updating it often for repeat visitors. Often this can mean providing more details about different aspects in your business, like seasonal discounts, etc. Your visitors will visit your site again and again if the content is relevant, and there is something new everytime they visit.
A well laid out website will be a successful one. Whether you design the site yourself, or outsource the task to a webdesigner like us, first layout your ideas on paper. Choose text, color and graphics carefully, they all contribute to the page load time. Starting with your Home Page, keep it fast-loading, with a good navigational structure. Try to follow the same layout for the whole website. Change the layout only for different sections and not different pages. If the navigation bar is at the top on your HomePage, keep it at the top in all the other main pages. Consistency in layout is very, very important.
These are just some of the basics about building a website. There are many more, some requiring a article all about themselves. Keep visiting, as I plan to write about as many as I can. Ofcourse, you are welcome to email me your suggestions/comments about what you would like to read about in webdevelopment.
Tasneem Rangoonwala is the Web Development Co-ordinator in D.zigns Enterprise Solutions, offering web design and related services as a freelancer.
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