Getting your business online
and creating an online presence By Clare Rogers, Medden Website Design
Why Do I Need to be On-line?
- Can you afford not to? Online retail sales in the U.K grew at 14% from April 2008 – April 2009. Nearly £200 million per month in the U.K. alone is spent online
- A website can be more than just an advertising brochure for your business. You can have a shop, community, customer support, feedback etc.
- Think about your customers and how offering them online facilities is encouraging their loyalty
- For some time and effort and initial outlay, you can have your product available to the WORLD, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Planning Stage – How Do I Start?
- Domain name
- Availability - www.123-reg.co.uk - www.GoDaddy.com
- Originality & Infringement
- Sitemap and flowchart
- Call to action – 3 click rule
- Competition – check it out, what works, what doesn’t?
- Do you have a USP (unique selling point) that you can market?
Developing Stage – Do it right!
- Disk Space
- Processor Speed
- Shared (adequate for basic brochure sites)
- VPS (virtual private server) for shops/dynamic sites
- Dedicated for large companies and worldwide corporations
You or an Expert? - Do it Yourself?
- It’s Cheaper!
- Don’t use online website creator/wizard.
- Don’t use WYSIWYG software.
- Learn to code clean HTML/CSS.
You or an Expert? - Get an Expert
- Compare at least 3 companies
- View portfolios
- Contact existing clients
- Use their expertise
- NEVER feel stupid
- Keep up to date with web trends
Design – Stand out but don’t confuse your audience. What do you want the users to do – put yourself in their shoes.
- Copywriting – the right text – the right message.
- Speed – Does it load quickly enough? If not, change it or risk the loss of potential customers.
- Usability – Does it work in all browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari, Mobiles).
Testing is key. Get your friends and family to test it and give feedback.
- Update – Make sure you update your site regularly to keep people interested and help with SEO.
- Security – Hackers, Spammers etc.
- Legal Requirements, Terms & Conditions, customer privacy – www.businesslink.gov.uk - www.website-law.co.uk
- Information Commissions Office www.ico.gov.uk
- Integrity and Recovery. Is customer data always safe? Is the website backed up, how regularly?
- Links – inbound and outbound
- Pay per click
- Adsense and banner ads
- Offline promotion
Keep It Going
- Keep updating your site
- Keep promoting
- Keep on top of current trends/competition so that you are ahead of the game
- Keep up to date with new technologies
- Being part of the growing internet industry is exciting as well.
- The feeling of that first sale or enquiry that comes through your website is fantastic – someone has found me!!!!
- Do it right and reap the benefits
- You will probably fail a few times, cry a few times and laugh a few times but mistakes are for making and goals are for reaching!