Planning Your Site…
Every good website is the result of proper planning and follow through. A website is like a directory or information flow, with you as the provider and your site visitors as the receivers of the information. If you don’t plan your website with this in mind right from the start, you could find yourself with a brand new website that solves all your immediate needs… but not those of your site visitors.
To create this plan we’ll need to:
- Identify the different groups of people who’ll use your website
- Work out what you want each of these groups to achieve on your website
- Identify the information you’ll need to provide for them to achieve this (and in what order)
- Work out what might put them off achieving this
- Identify the information you’ll need to provide to prevent under or overwhelming them
From this, you’ll be able to create a list of website pages and a rough idea of how they might flow together. You’ll then be able to work out exactly what pages to include on the website and how to group these pages together. Bear in mind though, some users will need more information than others, so you’ll always need to provide them with a choice of continuing on the information flow or jumping off so that they can achieve the goal you’ve set for them.
A sample flow of your site visitors might browse could look something like this:
- About Us/Company Background
- Staff Bios
- Client Testimonials
- Terms & Conditions (of site use)
- Privacy/Security Policy
- Contact us (Mapping, Address, Phones, Hours, & Contact Forms, Etc.)
Contracts, white papers, brochures, etc. can be stored as links for downloading from any page (i.e. *.pdf files), allowing you to keep your site fresh and clean but still providing in-depth information to those that require it.
Building Your Site…
Okay, with your hard work done you start to get excited, maybe too excited. Now that you’ve handed off your site to your designer (hopefully us), you await it’s completion…
If you’re anything like us your patience is thin at best in this “instant gratification” society we live in. However, you should now understand that the hard work and heavy lifting begin in our shop, not to worry we are professionals, and this is what you pay us for.
So for the sake of all concerned try to relax and know that we have your best interests in mind and that in a few weeks we’ll have completed the build and testing and will be advising you as soon as possible about a launch date.
Still, the process continues forward with some additional behind the scenes work on our end (of course from your perspective it’s all behind the scenes at our end). Once the site is up and functional, we’ll begin the joys of SEO or search engine optimization and submittal.
Search Engine Optimization And Site Submission…
We always take the time to optimize your site for the search engines, and will guarantee your site will get into the Top 3 (Google, Bing, & Yahoo). However, we don’t guarantee any special placement without an ongoing SEO/Maintenance contract. This is due to the need for updated info on your site as well as the constant changes the search engines make in how and what they look at in ranking your site.
Relax, you’ll definitely be listed and possibly be surprised at how well your site shows in the search results, but it can take time to get listed and moving upwards to the top pages. As we mentioned before there are a number of factors the search engines take into account to rank your site, so we recommend keeping your site alive with changes every month or so, sooner is better. Search engines like to see new information and frequent updates, and a static site can easily fall out of favor in very little time, so keep it fresh.
Additionally, now is the time to add your website and e-mail addresses to all your other advertising devices, be it simply letterhead and business cards to signage and vehicles. Relying soley on search engines to get potential customers to your site is not the best plan of attack. The idea here is to use your website to get your information/message accross, allowing you to have less clutter in your other advertising elements.