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WEB DEVELOPMENT

10 Tips for Planning an Outstanding Website
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-08-18

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    10 Tips for Planning an Outstanding Website
    by Ivana Katz

    When faced with the daunting task of planning what to include
    on your website and how to write the copy, here are a few tips
    that will make the task easier for you.


    1. Visitor Friendly

    The main thing to keep in mind is that your website needs to
    be visitor friendly. What this means is that your customer
    must be able to find what they are looking for easily and
    quickly. And that means great navigational system. Most
    websites either display their navigation bar on the left or
    at the top. And since most people are used to this type of
    navigation, it's best to stick with it. It also helps to
    include your navigation bar at the bottom of each page to
    save your visitors from having to scroll back to the top.


    2. Search Engine Friendly

    Search engines try to list sites that contain good content, so
    you need keywords and phrases on your pages that best describe
    your service and products. For example, if you are a florist,
    use the words such as florist, online florist, virtual florist,
    wedding florist, florist in Sydney, florist on line, flowers,
    floral, bouquets, floral arrangements etc as many times as
    possible to ensure high search engine ranking. To find out
    what keywords your customers may be searching on ask your
    family and friends or go to:

    - http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
    - http://www.wordtracker.com

    Once you decide on the keywords, use them in:

    (a) Your website's domain name
    (b) The title of your page - This is displayed in the top bar
    of your browser window
    (c) The heading of your home page
    (d) The first paragraph of your home page
    (e) Meta tags - Keywords, page title, description
    (f) Titles of your graphics

    Whilst it is important to use keywords as much as possible, it
    is also important you use them only if they are relevant and
    do not sound awkward. If you spam your keywords you may be
    penalised or even banned by some search engines.


    3. Informational vs On-line Store

    One of the first decisions you need to make is what type of
    website to have. Will it be informational only or will it be
    an on-line store or a combination of both? An informational
    website is like having an on-line brochure. It does not sell
    products directly to customers, but rather provides details
    of your business, its products and services and occasionally
    features a printable order form.

    The other type of website is an on-line store. It is a virtual
    salesperson who potentially never stops providing presales
    information to your prospects - and then making sales to them.


    4. Create a Plan

    Before you start thinking about what to write on each page of
    your website, it is important that you create a plan, which
    lists all the pages you wish to include. Below is a list of
    the most commonly used pages:

    (a) Home Page (First Page)
    (b) Products / Services
    (c) Contact Us
    (d) Pricing
    (e) Testimonials / Product Reviews / Before & After
    (f) Frequently Asked Questions
    (g) Response form such as *Subscribe* or *Enquiry* form
    (h) On-line Magazine or Newsletter
    (i) Resources/Articles
    (j) About Us
    (k) Guarantee
    (l) Survey
    (m) Events Calendar
    (n) Search My Website Feature
    (o) Return/Refund Policy
    (p) Privacy Policy
    (q) Site Map
    (r) Copyright Information
    (s) Links
    (t) Media Information
    (u) News
    (v) On-line store


    5. Cross-sell / Up-sell as part of your content

    If a customer is looking for a particular product, offer them
    details of related products. By recommending other products,
    your customers will learn what else is available and in many
    cases it will translate to additional sales for you.

    A company that does this exceptionally well is Amazon -
    http://www.amazon.com. Search for a particular book and you
    will find information on what other people who ordered this
    book also bought.

    Make it as easy as possible for customers to complete an order
    by providing clear instructions. Ensure delivery costs are
    outlined before a customer begins the ordering process.


    6. Focus on the customer and their needs

    Rather than trying to *sell your business*, let your prospects
    know how your product/service is going to benefit them.
    Emphasize the benefits and solve problems. Make this the
    focus of everything you write on every page of your site.
    Don't try to sell visitors your products or service, help
    them.


    7. Remind your visitors

    Remind your visitors they can print out your content. They
    may browse around your website while it's printing.


    8. Use headlines and sub-headlines to grab visitor's attention


    9. Offer value

    Offer bonuses, free trials, discounts and prizes. List the
    dollar value beside each bonus. People will feel they're
    getting a good deal and it will increase the value of your
    product.


    10. Spell check and grammar check your website

    Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Check
    that all links are working and graphics displaying correctly.

    If you are still struggling with where to start, visit your
    supplier's or competitor's websites. Be careful that if you
    use copy from their site that you do not infringe copyright
    laws. If in doubt, contact the author or copyright owner
    and ask for permission.

    Your ultimate goal is to turn a visitor into a customer. On
    your website, this is done by providing premium content. Each
    page should be its own mini site. As you have no control over
    how a visitor enters your website, it is important they are
    able to easily work out what your business offers and navigate
    to other pages within your site.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Ivana Katz is the owner of Websites 4 Small Business, a company
    specialising in the design and promotion of small and home-based
    business websites. She believes that every business deserves to
    have a successful website, no matter what its budget is. For
    more information visit http://www.web4business.com.au or email
    mailto:info@web4business.com.au

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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