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Designing A Website That Makes Sense For Your Business

Jun 4, 2008
When you finally make the decision to have a website designed for your business, you may be tempted to immediately start shopping for a good web design firm.

However, you need to make some very important decisions about what you want your web site to accomplish, before you start looking for a web designer.

You are the person who knows your business best. You know what your goals are and who your customers are. Your website designer will not know the ins and outs of what your website should achieve.

First of all, you need to decide what your website's purpose is - and it should have more of a purpose than just announcing that you exist, although that's important too.

All businesses want new customers and want to increase their volume of business.

If you have a local brick and mortar business, such as a restaurant, car repair shop, beauty salon, or any other business that needs people to walk in their door, your web site needs to accomplish a few things. It needs to be designed to be search engine friendly so - for example - when people look up a phrase like "Orlando hair salons" or "best hair salon in Orlando" or "good hair salon in Orlando" your salon appears on the first page of search engine results.

Then, when people come to your web site, you need to give them a reason to take that next step and come visit your business. You can have your web designer create special web-only printable coupons. You can set up a "squeeze page" to collect the customer's information so that you can send them emails with news about sales and special offers and special events at your place of business. You could get the customer to give you the date of their birthday so you can send them a special offer on that day.

Can you see, now, why it's important to make these decisions BEFORE you pick a web design company?

Now, let's say you have an online business. You may sell e-books, or graphic design services, or you may sell physical products that you ship from home.

You need to decide what action that you want your customers to take when they visit your website.

Your website needs to clearly communicate to a visitor what action they should take. Do you want them to order a product from you? Do you want them to join a membership site? You need to make it very easy for them to do so by having links to the order form in prominent places on your site.

You also need to come up with a way to capture those visitors who may need to take some time to think it over before they visit your site.

How do you stay in touch with a potential customer who has visited your web site? You can get your web designer to set up your site so that visitors can give you their name and email address. Your customer will do this if you offer to send them something for free: a free report, a free website template, a free weekly newsletter of some kind.

Then, you build a list of potential customers who have clearly demonstrated their interest in your services.

You also need to spend some time thinking about your target audience. Different styles of graphics and text will appeal to different audiences. If your web site is very targeted, say, to college students, or sports fans, or home schooling mothers, or gardeners...it makes sense to have a site designed very specifically to appeal to that target audience.

If your web site will have a broader appeal, such as "pet lovers" or car buyers, and could have visitors of all ages and all walks of life, you will want a more neutral, generic, design rather than say a bright, flashy, edgy design for a young crowd, or tasteful elegant graphics for rare book fans.

If you think all of this through before you select your web design firm, you will be in a much better position to communicate your needs and the scope of the project, and your web design will serve your business more efficiently.
About the Author
Richard James works for Just Web Designers. UK companies can receive quotes from up to 4 web development companies by completing one form. Visit http://www.justwebdesigners.co.uk for information.
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