Tips for Developing a Successful Business Website

In 1990s, most of the website design only required a simple knowledge of HTML & JavaScript. Since then, websites have evolved greatly, with the working knowledge of Flash and HTML 5.0 for most of the professional websites. Most website designers are using software such as Adobe Dreamweaver to simplify tasks considerably. Fortunately, most publishing suites have simple templates for a basic site and may prove enough for most small businesses seeking a simple web presence. At the bare minimum, your website should consist of the following:

Contact information – your phone number, e-mail Id and address must be clearly visible on the first page.

For ecommerce websites—it should contain a well designed product catalog, with your most current, news-worthy products on the first page. Promotions should also be clearly visible on the first page itself.

For online shopping cart system –pertinent to your products, also you should add downloadable content such as software or PDF manuals.

For corporate or events sites—it should consist of a clear company calendar with upcoming events, which can also be synched to the iCal standard or Goggle Calendar.

There are also some common pitfalls to avoid.

Garish or common clip art – these make your website appear unprofessional and outdated. Try to use scratch graphic designs, if possible.

Tiny text in an attempt to create a minimalistic look. This could often be unreadable on some smaller displays.

Overly extravagant Flash introductions with background music. This often slows down older computers and frustrates the customers who are only seeking basic information about the company. Create launch pages which gives the user the option of selecting a HTML or Flash version of the site.

Poor frequency of updates. When a visitor to your site sees the last update occurring half a year ago, what does that say about your to customer issues? Think about it.

Upgrade with the Basics for a New Web:

Now, with a basic foundation, your website should be spruced up further. Visitors these days expect a certain degree of interaction with the website. These are some things you can add to your website to enhance the user’s experience.

Real Time tech support – now days many websites offer Java or AJAX based web chat with tech support. Of course this means you need to have several members of your staff assigned to field with the questions asked. These can be connected to their work stations. Also some websites offer real-time chat via Windows Messenger.

Social Networking – integration via Facebook or Twitter. These allow your company to bring your customers closer without the use of old-time methods like mailing etc…

A wise use of multimedia. For example, Apple’s website uses QuickTime VR to allow the user to grab and rotate the product in any way they desire to mimic a physical shopping experience.

Tweak Up:

Be sure that the design of your websites should reflect their businesses. If you design for Hotels and restaurants they should not look like electronics websites, and vice versa. If your staff lacks the artistic eye for cohesion, it may be wise to hire a contract web designer in order to achieve this. However, below are some simple tips to maintain a clean design.

Fonts – many websites are created with the simple Times New Roman font in garish colors over clip art backgrounds. That would give an ugly appearance and discourage customers from purchasing your products. Professionally made banners and cleaner fonts such as Lucida Grande or Arial reflect well on your business.

Use CSS or AJAX would keep your site look lean and modern; without these your website will appear clunky, loading like a 1990s website being viewed on Netscape.

Use cross-browser compatible standards which can be viewed on the widest assortment of browsers and operating systems. Many designers fail to do this, when they design fancy websites without the consideration that many customers may be using outdated browsers without Flash.

Final Touch ups:

The important thing to remember about starting a business website is that design should be very clear, to the point and informative. Cross-compatibility is much more important than aesthetic beauty. Each customer who can’t load your site or find the pertinent contact information is a lost customer. Here are some final things that you should consider.

With the increasing adoption of smart phones, mobile-optimized websites. You can widen your company’s exposure and promote a forward-thinking image.

There are many articles instructing the web designers to phrase search terms in a proper way to increase hits from major search engines. You should also do this.

Use advertising as a means to gain revenue. You can consider Google AdSense as a free way to gain extra funds from page views and click thrus.

These are some ideas to help you get started.

“In business web design, your first impression upon the customer can often be your last if your website is poorly designed, so be sensible with your approach.”

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