A website is not just something you stare at on a glowing
screen. These days, a website is a multi-dimensional beast,
a complex character that deserves thought and attention.
Great website development involves so much more than just
design and color scheme. Creating a great website is a
careful, step by step process that begins with domain name
selection and ends when visiting customers convert to sales.
And once your website is designed, up and running, continued
maintenance and promotion is key to keeping visitors coming
back for more.
Let us take you through a brief description of each step
along the Yellow Brick Road of Web Design.
Domain Name Registration
Your domain name is what you type into the address bar of
your browser (it is your URL). It is what your visitors will
be typing into their browser, so selecting an easy to type
and understand domain name is important. It is your home on
the Internet. Make it easy to get to. Some examples of
domain names include directoryone.com, google.com, and
NBC.com. You know exactly where you are headed when you type
those into your browser. However, with millions of domain
names already registered, it may feel like all the good ones
are taken. But be creative and patient and the right name
will come along.
If your web page is like a paper flyer, than your server is
like the bulletin board you stick it on. You will need to
sign on with a web hosting service so you can store your
files on their server. Your host is who makes your site
available to the public, not just to you. When choosing a
web hosting company, you should take into account how much
space youll need, how much bandwidth, access, and so on.
There are numerous web-hosting terms that may be new and
confusing for you. For example, you may come across will be
Secure Server which you will need if you plan on doing any
sort of eCommerce. Another strange term you might see is
FTP Solutions. FTP is short for File Transfer Protocol.
FTP is what is used to upload, or move your site from you
computer to the host computer bulletin board.
Although design is not the only important aspect of creating
a website, good design is still vital to having a successful
site. You only get one chance to make a first impression,
and studies show that the average persons attention span is
only about 8 seconds when looking at a site. Make those 8
seconds count by having a clean, clear, easy-to-read site
that conveys information while also being aesthetically
pleasing to view.
While graphics and animation are snazzy and fun, they arent
necessary to making your website work. Sometimes simpler is
better, easier on you and easier on the customer. If you do
choose to use advanced graphics and animation, remember that
good visuals should be eye-catching but NOT distracting. Do
not crowd your page with spinning vortexes and dancing
bears. Utilize appropriate graphics that go with your
Remember: Sloppy website design does not make your product
look very desirable. If your website is quality, it implies
your product is quality, too.
Your layout is an aspect of design so important we gave it
its own category. Layout, navigation, and usability are the
active components of your design. The color is important to
the eye, but how your site is navigated is important to its
utility and efficacy. Navigation refers to how your
visitor moves about your site. What do they read? What links
do they click on? How is information organized? If you have
lots of information, do not dump dozens of pages of links
into one section; break them up under various categories to
make them easier to look through. A carefully planned
website can make it easier for your customer and for
yourself. Also allow for growth, since your business will
develop over the months and years, and you need your website
to grow along with it.
Your text, information and page layout is called your copy.
It is the words on your page, but equally the charts,
graphs, pictures and the layout of all these items. Remember
that Internet copy is different than paper copy, and
oftentimes a wall of words will overwhelm a visitor to your
site. Keep your copy clear and concise, since visitors
attention spans on the web are notoriously short. Determine
your sites chief purpose, your thesis. Are you about
building your brand, selling your product directly over the
Internet, or getting a buyer to visit your store? Keep your
purpose in mind as you create your website copy. Tell it
like it is.
Your company will be growing, so your website should as
well! As you organize, allow for new categories, new
products, and new links. You should perform regular
maintenance to make sure your links are working, your
contact information is correct, your forms are working, and
that everything is up to date, including copyrights. You
want to keep your content current.
You can also use tools that will track what is working best
for your website, what is getting results, and what pages
are being visited the most. Good statistics about where your
visitors enter your site and how they move through it can
help you tweak your site to improve sales and to create more
effective layout, copy and design. You never know where your
company may go, and good maintenance of your website will
keep it, and your customers, with you every step of the way.
You want other people to see this website you put so much
hard work into, so you need to find marketing solutions to
get it out there. These days one of the best ways to reach
your customers is via Search Engines, because that is where
customers are looking for you.
A search engine is a site such as Google or Yahoo where one
can go and type in any sort of keyword and be led to sites
that feature whatever they are looking for, be it mouse
ears to oven racks. In order to ensure that YOUR website
is among the top of the list of results, you need to
practice what is called search engine optimization. You
see, search engines rank the results they find, and if you
sell staplers in Butte, you will want to be sure your site
will rank well when someone types Butte staplers in the
search box. Search engines rank their results based on very
specific information from the copy and underlying code of
your website. There are millions upon millions of websites
that search engines have to sift through for each search, so
optimizing your website will make is easier for a search
engine to recognize that your site is relevant. If you have
the time and the inclination to learn, you can optimize your
website yourself. However, optimization is something many
companies choose to outsource.
Remember your website is not like a printed document. It is
not a one-dimensional, non-interactive page. Your website is
a completely new kind of marketing medium and must be
approached as such. From choosing the right domain name to
converting visitors into buyers, through the creation and
implementation of your navigation, copy and design, from
choosing your host to search engine optimization and
marketing, every aspect must be carefully considered. Best