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Questions to answer:
What is working for you now?
What needs to change?
Which priorities do you need to put online?
How do you anticipate maintaining/upgrading content?
Your web team will go over the overall design process, including an overview of the content you plan to put online and any interactive programming that you may need.
+ Site Maps are helpful in determining your site content.
+ Your web team will create a list of the functionality that you anticipate needing.
There are three "parts" to your website: the DOMAIN, the HOSTING, and the FILES.
You start to put together the content you want for your web presence.
Basic recommendations for content:
1) About Us (a statement about your company)
2) Products or Services (how you help others)
3) Client List/Testimonials (your previous clients)
4) Resources List (articles, white papers, associates)
5) Contact us (contact information)
Congratulations, your website is ONLINE! Start letting your clients and customer base know how to find you.
We are often asked how to get a website listing higher up on the search engines. Making your website "easy-to-use" and increasing your web traffic are important issues: your website will make sales for you or inform potential customers about your business 24/7.
Website ranking and growth are tied up with how a business is planning to grow in general. We like to point out that the website plan is part of the business plan, the networking plan, and the marketing plan.
Google offers paid advertisements for sale on the right hand side of the search results listings (this feature will cost you however much you want to pay per month on a per-click basis. Check www.google.com/onlinebusiness for more information on signing up for an account.)
However, the best way to get your website listed is to do the following:
HTML pages have a timestamp on them, and any website page that is more than a year old is automatically going to be assumed by the different search engine "spiders" to be outdated content or less relevant to current status.
Avoid heavy graphics or websites that are made entirely out of graphics: any content in a graphic is not currently recognizable to search engines.
Sites that rely heavily on Flash are also difficult for search engines to crawl and are more suited to entertainment, design, or gaming sites.
2. A good way to have updated content is to add a blog or a section with frequent updates and industry-specific links, news, articles, or ideas.
For example, Dewita Soeharjono, a real estate agent in Virginia, runs a "Metro DC Living blog" which focuses on neighborhoods, lifestyle, schools, cafes, weather, and sports within different DC neighborhoods. As a REALTOR®, she uses this resource to provide information and she picks up clients along the way.
Company bloggers inside Fortune 500 companies and small businesses update readers daily, even hourly, on developments from an insider's point of view. Anything that helps your readers build community and feel connected to you as a business will increase your brand visibility. We use Wordpress as our blog of choice.
Use your website to connect with your customers.
3. As a business owner or organizational leader, you provide resources to your community and as such you are viewed as being well-connected and knowledgeable.
Add links to your preferred partners, your vendors and suppliers, the charities or causes you support, or even your clients! One easy section to add is a "community focus corner" that highlights a particular part of your community like a school or local nonprofit group. This way, your company shares high-quality links with these organizations, adding to your integrity and list order. (10K Webdesign does this with a "recent clients" section on www.10kwebdesign.com).
For additional exposure, add your quotations in articles or press releases that automatically mark you or your pressroom section as the "go-to" source for anything related to your field.
4. List your business in as many high-quality directories as possible, such as community directories, vendor lists, or other online resources. See where your competitors show in the listings when you type their names into Google.
Mind the company you keep: make sure that your website only appears attached to reputable, honest companies.
List yourself for no charge through Google Local. Woman and minority owners also have the option to join preferred vendor lists through their local, city, or state government, which gives your website more exposure.
5. In your field, develop some "gifts" to offer potential clients? If you have information to share, or top ten lists or articles on your field or industry, these will increase your search engine ranking.
Develop an event calendar with events specific to your business or to your partners and associates. Or, develop a directory of specific listings that your customers would appreciate. Add your favorite lists of suppliers or vendors, or do a highlight on a typical business process so your customers understand how you work. Transparency is key.
Finally, make sure your meta-links are in order: check the "View Source" of your page and you'll see these items in the header:
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3, etc." > <meta name="description" content="some content goes here">.
The keyword search helps express the relevancy of your page, and targeted keywords will help improve the relevancy of your page to search engines.
To recap, offer excellent content on your pages, change and freshen your website content frequently, offer resources to your clients and customer base, get listed in as many high quality directories as possible, and share your knowledge with others via the web. Happy clicking!
WEBSITE = GOOD.
Websites are versatile, helpful, and are always working for business owners and organizations: who else is available 24/7 and can be found in a quick Google search?
When you're going through the web development process and find yourself coming up on some terms that make no sense: here in a nutshell is your resource for typical web design terms.
CMS: Content Management System, refers to a way to organize your content within your website. Typically for businesses and organizations that need control over their page content or items like a calendar of events, e-mail subscriber list, or product inventory.
Domain: The domain name is the "www" part of your website. You own the domain when you purchase it, typically you'll want something easy to remember and spell. For example, www.yourlink.com is your domain name. Check available domains at www.10khosting.com
FTP: File Transfer Protocol, refers to a way to upload your files onto the actual web hosting. Think of it as a courier that takes your files off your desktop or off your web designer's machine and "unpacks" them onto your site. Typical FTP programs are WS_FTP or CuteFTP for PCs and Fetch for Mac.
Hosting: The hosting is the "folder" of your files on the server that maintains those files. Typically you purchase hosting on an annual basis, and it is usually either Windows or Linux based. The domain www.yourlink.com "points" to your hosting package, similar to the post office "pointing" the mail carrier to deliver your snail mail to your mailbox. The internet has a series of "registries" that know where each of the domains are currently pointing.
mySQL: An open-source database that comes standard with many hosting packages. A very powerful, secure, and helpful method of storing and displaying information. www.mysql.com
PHP: Stands for Personal Home Page, a programming language that is in high use because it's open source, flexible, and intuitive. More info at www.php.net
Criminals attempt to steal personal financial information (account numbers, passwords, Social Security Numbers) and other sensitive or confident information by sending fraudulent e-mails or redirecting you to phony websites that appear similar to, if not identical to, a legitimate one. This is referred to as "Spoofing" or "Phishing".
The e-mails will likely warn of a serious issue that requires your immediate attention or requests that you "update," "validate," or "confirm" your account information. You may be directed to click a link or call a telephone number.
NOTE: Most legitimate companies will never send you a direct e-mail you asking for personal information.
If you receive an e-mail with our name or logo directing you to a website or telephone number that asks for your account number, social security number, credit/debit card number, or other personal information, do not provide this information. If you receive an e-mail from a common provider like Ebay, PayPal, Yahoo, Google, Amazon, or a bank like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or even your local credit union, do not provide this information. This is an attempt by criminals to gather information and steal your identity.
If you are in doubt about an e-mail you may have received, always contact the company using the telephone number listed on their home page (or on your credit card or bank statement or in the phone book). The best option is to open a new browser and directly visit the URL of the company, like www.company.com. Do not click any links included in any e-mail.
The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has provided the following valuable tips to assist you in protecting yourself from phishing schemes.
Most legitimate companies will never send you a direct e-mail you asking for personal information.
If you receive such an e-mail, don't provide any information. If you think you have been a victim of this crime by providing information, please contact your financial institution immediately.
Contact us about your project or idea. We look forward to working with you!
Here are ten items to make SURE to do when developing your website:
1) Correct Tagging for each page.
Make sure that your web page always has meta-tags that include keywords, description, and any other pertinent information. Do a "View Source" on your page in a browser to see what is currently there: if there's nothing there, chances are the search engines have a harder time with your page.
2) Check for Broken links.
There is nothing more frustrating to a user than clicking on a link and ending up nowhere. Check all links to make sure that the site is complete.
3) Error checking makes for Friendly Forms.
4) Google is your Friend.
Sign up (or ask your web developer to sign up) for a Google Account, which allows you to take advantage of a multitude of goodies, including AdSense, Sitemaps, Site Submission, and Analytics. TIP: Signing up with AdSense is a great way to create revenue through your web pages.
5) We all Link to Each Other.
Your website's relevance is always assisted by cross-linking to other, similar websites, blog posts, articles, or online directories. Seek out your Chamber or local business directory to make sure you receive a reciprocal link.
6) Analyze This!
Check your Site Statistics frequently to see how your visitors are experiencing your site. Take note of unique visitors and the popularity of the pages your visitors reach. IDEA: Check referrers and search queries that people use to find your website. Target your information towards what your visitors need.
7) More Text, Text-y Text!
Currently, text is the best way of adding information. Search Engines do not process images particularly well, unless the image is named a certain way, e.g. MartinLutherKingJr.jpg. If you want higher rankings, make sure to embed relevant text into your pages. NOTE: Please do a spell check: any spelling errors you allow on your web pages will be cached for all eternity to your shame.
8) Less Flash = Quicker Load time
Most users will wait for your site an average of 4 seconds before leaving. If your site relies on heavy Flash preloading or has an abundance of large, non-optimized graphics, you will lose potential visitors. Keep it light with more text and CSS and less heavy, interactive graphics. NOTE: If you are an interactive designer or a multimedia entertainer, forget this advice: you probably want lots of interactive fils on your site.
9) CSS versus Tables
An ongoing discussion in web circles is how to best use stylesheets for formatting. Products like Dreamweaver and Front Page are not known for great use of styling. TIP: Check to see if your web developer is hand-coding a CSS file or at least has some idea of creating a table-free HTML page.
BONUS ITEM: If you've integrated the above ten tips into your website development, congratulations! Your visitors are seeking information and your expertise in your particular subject area. When they come to your site, give them some information for free. Share your knowledge through a Blog, or a Resources section. Your helpfulness will come back to you in the form of increased trust.
Pro bloggers like Darren Rowse and Steve Pavlina has been monitoring the sales they receive off the pay-per-click model that Google AdSense uses. Below is a step-by-step way for you to integrate website marketing into your pages.
If you have a highly updated site, like a blog or videolog, or a page that has many "feeds" going into multiple pages, you'll have an easier time with generating traffic and encouraging clicks.
If you have a basically static site, now might be a time to consult with a web developer to add a "Recent News" or "Opinions" section to your site: fresh content adds more variety and boosts your relevant page rankings.
Simply go to AdSense and sign up with a new or your existing Google account.
To get started, decide what type of ad you want (text, images, video, etc.) and then walk through their process to generate a snippet of code.
The snippet of code gos on the header or footer of your website, or possibly on a sidebar. The code then seeks ads that are related to the content on your page.
Ads are delivered everytime a user loads the page. If a user clicks on one of the ads, then you get a tiny slice of revenue.
If, for example, one person out of every 100 people, clicks on an ad, and you receive eight cents, then if 50,000 people visit and the same percentage (1%) click through, then you've just earned $40. The more you boost your traffic and the more people visiting your site, the more potential ad revenue you'll generate.
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