Hardworking Websites

By Zoë-Lynn Cohen

With the changing economy has your company been taking more hits than your website? Has opportunity stopped knocking at your door? Well opportunity no longer knocks, it clicks and clicks. As a result more companies have been depending on their website to work harder than ever before. They have also come to the realization that because time is at a premium the window for attracting a person’s attention has been getting smaller. One way to re-open that window is with an eye-catching design that will attract your prospective clients’ attention.

What type of website?

Developing a website and then maintaining it can be a valuable part of your business. It is best to first look at what you want to accomplish with having a website. Are you looking to give the user an overview of the company with contact information? If so, you’ll want to develop a brochure type website. Do you have products to sell? You may want to look into an e-commerce site requiring more sophisticated programming and a database. Do you need to gather information from a survey or poll? Your website will then require some scripting. Your web designer will be able to guide you through these options and available technology to best fit your needs.

Organize your information

After you have chosen a type of website think about all the information that the user will want to learn and then group the information into categories. These categories will become pages and will also serve as the buttons for navigating your website. It is recommended that you have pages that cover your Services, a page about the company often called “About Us” and a Contact page with at least a phone number, address and email. Depending on your business a map with directions may also be helpful. Some exciting pages that might apply include Testimonials, a Portfolio of your work, a Calendar of Events, and News with articles/press releases. Some pages providing the user with general information are Support, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Company Polices, available Employment Opportunities, and Links to resources or areas of interest. There is no one solution and keep in mind that the categories may also change over time.

Once you have selected which pages to include in your site it is time to think of content. Remember that not everyone will know the lingo in your field so stay clear of terminology that only people in your business will understand. Organize what the user will find most important and put that first. Make sure that you include keywords (words that users are likely to enter into a search engine when trying to find you) on your home page. Do not be afraid to repeat keywords, which can boost your search engine ratings.

Don’t forget the photos

Use pictures and show examples of your work. If you are in home improvement show before and after photos of your jobs. If you are a printer show samples of your printed work. If you are a fitness trainer show the equipment your clients will use. If you do not sell a product put in a picture of the office building, the staff, anything that will personalize the site. Most people will not read page after page of all text so incorporate pictures wherever possible. With today’s high-speed connections image size is less of a concern than in years past so don’t worry about including extra photos.

With any website it is important to consider the maintenance. Contact information will change, as there is employment turnover and growth. You may have specials or promotions at different times of the year. Be sure to update articles, press releases and testimonials. If you have a calendar of events it will dictate how often the site will need maintenance. Even if information tends not to change it is good to check your website regularly to make sure that all buttons and links are working. Don’t assume that because it worked last month that it is still okay. It is frustrating for the user if the information is not available and it could mean a loss of business to you.

Finally, remember that your website, as is true with any marketing tool, will change over time so be prepared to come back and reassess your website needs as your company grows.

 

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