Sunday, January 4, 2009

Marketing Tips: What Makes a Good Website

Dear Mariellen, I was laid off a year ago and while it initially was a big blow, after a couple months of trying to find the "perfect fit" and then trying to figure out if I could settle, I finally took a leap and started my own business. I am 6 months in and have hired my first part-time employee. I really want to put up a website to sell some of our products. But before I start thinking about design or costs, I wanted to know if you could give me a few pointers about what makes a good website. I really am not computer-savvy and have had to learn so many things about technology in the last few months as my business has gotten off the ground. I appreciate your answers and look forward to reading them! Suzanne K. Dear Suzanne, Congratulations on your new business and best of luck. I would be happy to share with you a little about what makes a good website and welcome any other questions that you may have. 1. Readability: This means the text should be clear, a contrasting color and good font size. Also, the graphics should not make reading the site difficult. Do not use all CAPS throughout the site (it looks like you are yelling) and keep the formatting simple. 2. Navigation: Work with your designer to use a consistent link color (and font) and make the buttons that link to other parts in the site clear and easy to read. Text or buttons that are links should look different than other text and graphics in the site. Make the navigation clear so that visitors can easily navigate. 3. Think about SEO: If you put up a site, there is no guarantee that anyone will come and see it. You should work with a web company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization so that your site draws potential customers and traffic. Everything from site design to content, to links to the site can affect the rankings on the search engines so make sure this is addressed from the start. 4. It is all in a name: Once you have chosen a domain name, make sure that you include it on all business cards, folders, brochures, invoices, letterhead, etc. People will want to know that they can find out information about your company by simply going to the web. 5. Include contact information: Make sure that all contact information is readily available and up-to-date -- this includes the physical address, telephone numbers, fax numbers, and email address. You want the visitors to feel comfortable contacting you with any questions. 6. Have consistent branding: Your web page layout and design should be consistent throughout the site, and consistent with your other marketing materials, (letterhead, brochures, signage, logo). This is your brand - how you will be recognized and it is important to keep it easily recognizable and professional. 7. Make it quick: The attention span and patience of an online visitor is super-short. Make sure your site is quick to download and doesn't have graphics or applications that slow it down so much that the average user will click away before they get the opportunity to learn about you and your business. (If you are showing art/graphics that need high-resolution and longer load times to really show the quality of your work, make sure to put a note at the top of the page so the visitor knows to wait a couple seconds). I hope this helps get you started. I would be happy to discuss your site and marketing your new business with you if you would be interested. My number is below. Best personal regards, Mariellen Auer Auer Agency: Charlotte
Auer Agency Charlotte, NC 704.236.0568

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