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WEB DEVELOPMENT

How to Create a GREAT Web Site
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-09-06

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    How to Create a GREAT Web Site
    by Claire Cunningham

    Do you have a web site that hasn’t been touched in years? Or have you avoided the Internet bandwagon all together? Well, it’s time to hop aboard again – or for the first time. Here’s why:

    1) Audience:
    * Young adults and teens spend more time on the Internet than they do watching TV. Also, they’re more likely to use the Internet than the Yellow Pages to find a product or service.
    * Engineers and other business people use the Internet as a key information source when researching a product or service.
    If either group is part of your target, you need to be on the Internet.
    2) Availability: A web site is available 24/7, so your information is there whenever your prospect wants it.
    3) Cost-effective: Creating and maintaining a web site is relatively low cost.

    To create a web site, start with the basics.

    1) CONTENT -- A great web site will include:

    * Description of your company –- This is basic. People need to know what you do before they’ll buy.
    * Description of your products or services –- Basic stuff again. Be clear and concise. Use attractive photos.
    * (Service companies) Portfolio of work or case histories -- Demonstrate what you do.
    * Bios of key staff with photos –- This humanizes the site.
    * Testimonials –- Proof that you’ve helped people.
    * Resources – Include white papers, how to’s, other useful info. This is especially important if you want to be seen as an expert.
    * Newsletter, regularly updated news or blog –- Great ways to stay in touch with clients and prospects, AND new content helps your search engine rankings.
    * Contact form –- A way for visitors to reach you.
    * Links –- Another resource to offer visitors, plus the right reciprocal links can build traffic.

    If you don’t have it all together yet, start small and add pages later.

    2) DESIGN –- A great web site grabs attention and invites the visitor in. The design should be consistent with any print materials you use. A good web designer can give you a site that loads quickly, is easy to navigate and read, and looks professional.

    3) TRAFFIC BUILDING – Now that you’ve got a web site, how do you get people to it? Here are some starter ideas:

    * Search Engine Registration –- Often handled by your designer or hosting company. You’ll need to make sure it gets done.
    * Reciprocal links –- Research what’s available and learn what works through trial and error.
    * Register articles on Internet article banks –- If you like to write, post articles and direct readers to your site.
    * Search Engine Optimization –- The real thing can be VERY expensive. If you’re starting up a retail site and need high volume traffic, hire an expert in this field. Otherwise, make sure key words are used repeatedly on your home page, and use other tactics to build traffic.
    * Advertising –- There are web site banners and buttons, search engine ads (like Google AdWords) and print ad opportunities to evaluate.
    * Direct mail –- Use mailings (e-mail or traditional) to let colleagues, clients and friends know about your site.
    * Publicity –- Send out a news release announcing your site to as many publications as possible. Follow up with releases on additions to the site.

    4) MAINTENANCE –- A great web site is not static. A website can be a nightmare to those who value completion – because a good site is always evolving. If you want return visitors, give them a reason to come back. Add new content. If you want new visitors, adding content will help your search engine rankings.
    About the author

    Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 20+ years’ experience developing and implementing successful marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claire’s monthly newsletter, Communique, at http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com Claire can be reached at 763-479-3499 (Fax: 763-479-2809, e-mail: claire@claircomm.com)

    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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