Make your website to be the best it can be
We have provided the following information to help your prepare for the web design process…
- Visit http://www.whois.net to check availability of domain names you are considering
- We can purchase a domain name for you or you can purchase online yourself
- Cost approx. $12/year for .com and $13/year for .ca
- We can host for you and set up email and visitor tracking for $10/month
- See tips on how to choose a domain name at the conclusion of document
How to choose a domain name?
To help your website and business flourish, pick a domain name that:
- Is easy for web users to remember and find
- Suggests the nature of your product or service
- Serves as a strong trademark so competitors won’t be able to use a business name or domain name similar to it
- Is free of legal conflicts with trademarks belonging to other businesses
- Has a good extension – If a person is surfing around looking for a site, and they know its name, most people will try .com. So, for the web site owner who wants their site to be found, the rule is: if at all possible, get a .com name
- Is short – less than 7 characters ideally. A simple name will roll off the tongue more easily in conversation, look more professional, and have less chance of being mistyped
- Is easy to spell – Make sure it passes the phone test: if you were to say the domain name of your website to a friend over the phone, would your friend be able to spell it correctly the first time without your having to spell it for them
- Descriptive – A good site or business name will describe exactly what the site is about. In most cases it’s important for a person to be able to get some sort of sense what the website is about just by reading the domain name
Think about the design
- Do you have a logo, colour scheme?
- Do you have fonts or graphics that you would like to use on the website?
- What is your look?
- What do you want visitors to say about your site?
- Think in terms of keywords such as corporate, artsy, sophisticated, simple, trendy, young or in terms of themes such as environment, urban, or education.
How to make the most of your website?
- Be consistent from page to page so that visitors get to know your site, navigation, branding and get comfortable with who you are and what you are offering.
- Keep the navigation simple and use drop down menus so that information is accessible in one or two clicks
- Content is King! It is what will bring viewers to your site and search engines like it as well!
- Organize your content. Start with high-level topics, break them into groups, and then into subgroups. Use headings to catch attention and try to break up the page content into manageable sections using bulleted lists, images or diagrams, and dividers. Make it easy for viewers to skim over the content to find what they are looking for.
- Put your content above the fold. Put the most important information so that visitors don’t have to scroll down and can get the most important information quickly.
- Avoid large files that take too long too download. They can be a real turn off to viewers.
- Keep your information on your site current, people won’t return if they feel the information is out of date. Use new articles, newsletters, schedules, etc. to draw viewers back to the site.
- Advertise your site everywhere, stationary, business cards, invoices etc.
- Get the social networking advantage. Consider a Facebook business page and ask visitors to become a fan or use Twitter to let clients know about a promotion or sale. Have like or follow or share buttons – this is a great way to increase traffic to your site.
- Integrate a blog on your website. Websites with blogs built in get 55% more traffic than websites with no blog. Google loves site that have fresh content. Having a blog with regular blog posts is a great way to increase your search engine ranking.
- Use Google ads to use the search engine results to profile your site resulting in increased traffic. More info about Google Ads.
- Use tracking to find out which pages, email campaigns, and other tools are working for you.
- Newsletter and a sign up for newsletter box – see Newsletter tips
DEFINE YOUR COMPANY
- What products or services do you offer?
- What is your mission or vision?
- What do you do that your competitors don’t?
- What does your organization do?
- What are your key messages?
DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
- Try and define your audience
- Write down some keywords to describe them
- What action do you want them to make when visiting your website
- How do you want your audience to describe your website
DEFINE YOUR MISSION
- What does the ideal visitor outcome look like?
- What do you want people to do after visiting your site?
- Why do you have a website? Guilt is a bad reason to start a website.
- What do you want your website to accomplish?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitor’s websites?
- What makes you different from your competitors?
- Look at competitor sites and see what content they have included.
- Look at sites and identify at least 3 features that you like and 3 that you don’t like.
- Start to think about your content.
- What do you have in terms of graphics, images and text.
- What do you have to obtain or write?
- How will you organize the content?
- Do you need sub-menus?
- What is the end action that you want a visitor to take when they visit your site i.e. buy something, contact you, get more info …?
- Make sure it is edited and up to date
- Write a short description of your company website to be used for meta tags as well as 25 keywords that describe your business or that people might use to search for your site.
Tips for writing for the web
Writing for the Web is very different from writing for print: We have provided a few tips to help you when writing your content for the web
- Start the page with the conclusion as well as a short summary
- Reading from computer screens is 25% slower than from paper
- Web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent
- Web users scan pages; they do not read word-by-word
- Each paragraph should contain one main idea
- Use simple sentence structure; avoid cute headlines; update facts frequently.
- Highlight keywords
- Bulleted and numbered lists slow down the scanning
- Move detailed info to secondary pages.
- Use headlines and subheads; lists, captions, and hyperlinks.
- Fresh eyes and skilled editing improve your work.
- Users can enter a site at any page and move between pages as they chose
- Make every page independent
- Users don’t like to scroll; put the most important information at the top.
- Web users are impatient and critical
- Allow users to quickly find the information they want
- Web users appreciate a more informal writing style
- Make it personal: viewers tend to view the content as directed just at them
- Use a friendly writing style, it is more personal and easier to read
- Use screen captures if they can help illustrate how a product works
Are you planning to maintain your website?
- Will the website require frequent updates?
- Who will be doing the updates?
- Do you want a site that you can make revisions yourself?
- Are you experienced with computers and the internet?
- Do you want to budget for a monthly maintenance charge?
- Do you want to purchase a program such as Contribute and budget for some tutorials and tech support?
Top website mistakes
- Focusing on design over content
- Focusing on the company over the viewer
- Hiring your brother-in-law to build the website
- A website that isn’t kept up to date
- Incomplete website or under construction
- Websites that take too long to load
- Audio that plays when you visit a website
- Visible visitor counters
- Lack of copyright statements
- Flash intro pages. These pages are not readable by search engines and they are not mobile compatible.
- Website breaks in major web browsers
- No about page
- No contact page
- Popup Adverts
- Images that are too small or poor quality
- Poor site navigation
- No calls to action
- Sign up before you can read anything
- Lack of text – info is what websites are all about.
- Overuse of technology
- Long pages and long sentences
Contact us for more detailed information
Some general marketing ideas to consider. Compliments of Bragg Creek Chamber “How to Increase Your Bottom Line”.
- Provide quality services at competitive prices
- Spent time everyday marketing your business
- Set specific goals for your marketing efforts
- Set a budget for your marketing efforts
- Make it easy for customers to do business with you
- Showcase the benefits of your products or services
- Bring a business card with you at all times (with your web address)
- Be open to new marketing strategies
- Build relationships – loyalty programs
- Build a customer email list
- Keep a notebook for marketing ideas
- Monthly email newsletters
- Cross promote with other businesses
- Join your local business network or chamber
- Sponsor a local event or charity
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog
- Network! Network! Network!
Web design summary
- Your website needs to be client/visitor focused. It needs to provide value for the viewer. Websites are about information – fact sheets, tips, guides, videos, and podcasts are good additions.
- Good clean design and code is important but good content that is well organized in paramount.
- Use social media – connect with your viewers – provide the opportunity to share, like and follow.
- Integrate a newsletter sign up form and start to build a relationship with your visitors.
- Do your research – start by reading the information provided to you on this website compliments of Boden/Ledingham Web Design and we hope to hear from you!
Whether you are starting fresh, or want to redesign your existing site, give Marilyn a call for a free consultation at 403.949.4062.