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Building a website for business impact

21-Jun-2012

The UK has over 52 million internet users1 and 1.9 billion2 internet users exist worldwide, making it a rich and powerful medium to create awareness of your business. Being present on the internet can offer almost any business a cost-effective solution to be visible and available to its customers and prospects. Any business can decide to be a part of this ever expanding digital world by registering its domain name and building its website.

Building a website that creates an impact takes some preparation however.

Let us examine and review the basics.

Register a domain name - An important first step to doing business on the Internet is to select and register a domain name that helps boost your company’s visibility on the web. For example, a .com domain name is a good option because it helps provide instant recognition, visibility and credibility for your brand online, both in the UK and globally. A .net domain name is also a good choice – many young entrepreneurs pick this type of domain when they start putting their novel business ideas into practice on the web.

Define your purpose of having a website. Is the website going to promote the company, serving as a marketing tool to advertise your brick-and-mortar business? Or, will the website be an online e-commerce store where visitors can purchase goods and services online?

Once you are clear about the purpose of your website, it would be advisable to do some web surfing. Review other websites for a design or functionality you like.

Design and appearance: A website should be visually appealing and professional. These general guidelines may help –

  • A good colour scheme may only contain 2 or 3 primary colors. Don't overdo the color, as it can distract from the written content.
  • Allow for adequate white space in your design. Uncluttered layouts allow viewers to focus on your message.
  • Graphics and/or high quality photographs can increase visual appeal. These should be selected to add meaning or context to your written content.

Content is king: Content on your website should be informative and relevant to your audience. The main reason why people visit a company’s website is to seek information or buy its products or services, so the information on your Website should help them to accomplish those goals.

Clear website navigation: Navigation is the roadmap of your website. Visitors to your website need to know three essential things: where they are, where they can go, and how they can get back to where they came from. Remember, visitors to your website are in a hurry -- don't make them hunt for information or keep them guessing about where they need to go next.

Interactive: Build in feedback forms and other means of communication so that your visitors or customers can interact with you in order to share feedback or make a request.

Inspire trust: In the online world, your website does the talking on your behalf; hence you should try and display information that can showcase your potential credibility as a business. Using client and/or media reviews for example, may help engender trust in your website visitors.

If your website offers the option of purchasing products or services online, you will need to ensure that adequate steps are taken to make it safe and secure for your site visitors to carry out a monetary transaction on your website.

Test your website thoroughly before going live: Make sure all the text, images, colors, and page layouts are correct and there are no spelling mistakes. If left unattended, these are likely to make visitors to your website think that your business is amateurish.

Promote your website to help people find your website on the Internet: You can help boost your visibility by including your complete domain name in virtually every communication medium your company uses, from the business card to the office supplies. In addition to this, you may want to register your domain name on an online search engine because many internet users utilise search engines to locate companies and businesses. Some technical adjustments may need to be made while developing the website so that it potentially responds more efficiently to certain searches made by internet users, something commonly known as the 'Search Engine Optimisation' process.

Refresh and revise your website content regularly. A website that has the same information month-after-month becomes stagnant and predictable. Try replacing one of your key web page graphics with newer versions or adding the latest news about your company.

Now that you have a framework, you can go ahead and build your website.