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Creating a website
“One advantage of the internet is convenience. If you can’t follow up orders quickly and deliver within specified times, don’t sell over the internet. Use it instead as a marketing and promotional tool.”
(David Clarke, contemporary silverware designer)
Why have a website?
The internet is primarily a source of information, so your website should be thought of as a marketing tool, albeit one of many such tools available to a small business. When you make the decision to establish a web presence you will need to think about what you want from your website, whether you want it as an online signpost, or whether you want to trade online.
The signpost style website provides readily accessible information about your business i.e. your contact details and information about your services and products. You will have the opportunity to store print quality…
- Create a website just because you think you should.
- Get carried away by the technology and forget communication.
- Forget that most new business will come from recommendations or past work.
- Assume that internet techniques are the same as for printed matter.
- Overlook what makes you special and how you can prove it.
- Set objectives for what you want to achieve with your new site. Check your competition.
- As always, be different. Consider “tone of voice” and personality.
- Consider using it as much (or more) for communication with people who have heard of
- you as for new business. Do not hold your breath for getting new business just from the site unless you are well known.
- If you do want to attract new cold contacts, then design the site and the copy for search engines (get 101 search engine secrets from www.did-it.com) and for cross-referencing with partners.
- Actively promote the site.
- Create a hierarchy of pages, and plan the navigation before you start
- Design the site for Explorer or Netscape browsers, but do not forget that not everybody has the ability or the time to get involved in all the bells and whistles available. If you use a designer, make sure that he/she understands communications/ graphics and is not merely proficient technically.
- Remember this is a new medium. People have to find you, they want to interact, it is a “one-to-one” medium and it is international.
- Use JPEG thumbnail files for visuals to keep down loading time fast; you can always arrange to expand them to a larger size with a mouse click.
- Give your audience good reasons to bookmark your site and come back time and again.
- Update and refresh your site frequently (the author aims to change his site twice a week).
- Think about relationship marketing and how to use the web to develop evidence that you are talented, a good problem-solver and care about your client’s business.
- Remember the web is useful for supporting a project. For example, you could have a password protected page(s) for each client as a project management tool, to show drawings, timetables, minutes, contact reports, etc.
- Plan how to measure results (hits, visits, enquiries and contracts) gained via your website (the author uses FastStats).
Courtesy of Jeremy North: www.jeremynorth.com & Richard Warmington & Rachel Moses
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