Friday, April 16, 2010

Things to look for Before jumping into website Building

Things to Consider Before Building a Website

The Internet is fantastic. It never sleeps! It's always ready to do business. An acoustic guitar player can come home at 3 AM from a gig and listen to guitar samples from a guitar maker's website without waking him up. Last night at 5 AM I was able to check out the website of a real estate agent. I could view all of his available listings without waking him out of bed. Doesn't this sound great? Now before you rush into setting up a website here are some things you need to take into consideration before you develop your website plan.

Ask yourself what is the purpose going to be of your website?

Are you looking for something basic so that you have a presence on the internet? Just a phone number, email address and your company name? If that's what you are looking for you can get this done pretty cheap. If you believe there is more than just a local market for your product perhaps a larger website would be better. This could include a virtual tour of your facilities. For realtors this may include virtual tours of homes for sale or for professional speakers clips of you speaking at other events. For retailers this could include adding online shopping capabilities. This can be expensive, but having a truly useful website gives you a reason to direct users to your website. This may also allow the opportunity to make a return on your investment through the online orders.

Who is your target market?

For a professional speaker, it would probably be someone within driving distance. If you ship products, sell information products or offer services that can be sent electronically you could have a global market.

The basic style of your website is dependent on a few factors.

If you are aiming only for just the local area, a website with video and flash animations or presentations will get your message across clearer. It will hurt your search engine ranking, but if you are only interested in local customers you can find other ways to drive locals to visit. The number of products also affects the style of your website. For a single product a 2 page website works best; one webpage for the product and the other for payment details. For multiple products you may have to divide webpages into categories. For a large number of diverse webpages you may need several categories to help users navigate your website.

How often do you want to update?

The more you update the more reasons for people to come back. However maintenance costs money. The London Ski Club had to consider this when they looked at building a website several years ago. The big question was whether they could keep up to date information on the condition of the weather and the ski runs. Even if you don't want to update your website often, budget for some maintenance costs. Two of the suppliers we use at Forest City Surplus didn't allow for maintenance in their budgets. When I go to their websites I see products that were discontinued 2 or 3 years ago. This frustrates their sales staff, distributors and customers. One of the supplier's website is so out of date I have trouble trusting it.

Remember before you look at building a website ask yourself:

What is going to be the purpose of your website?
Who is your target market?
How often do you want to update?
These are some of the basics about a website. Depending on your budget and the scope of website you wish to setup, you may need to do more planning and research into the kind of website that is right for you.