Web Design

Q. Why should My Business have a Website?

A. Websites should offer some clear and definite advantage for the business. Typically these are: 

  • Advertising - Customers looking for products can find out about your products, your company, and how to get in touch with you. 
  • Customer Convenience - Customers who know about your website can get directions to your store, see your prices, find out about specials, store hours, schedules, and much, much more. 
  • Customer Support - Documentation can be placed online for customer use outside of normal office hours. 
  • Public Relations - By developing extras, such as an online library of material, you can create word of mouth publicity for company, enhancing your reputation.  
  • Online Stores - For some businesses, online ordering allows for additional sales at reduced cost. 
  • Added Income - A site that has a lot of traffic can generate added income from ads, memberships, and other services not directly related to the main line of business
In any case, the main purpose of any business site is to promote the Business through these and other actions.

Q. What are the main things that I should be concerned about when setting up my web site? 

A. There are several main areas of concern

  • Web Site Hosting - to be on the internet, the actual website has to be stored on an computer connected someplace to the Internet. The costs will vary depending on the size and complexity of your website, as well as the services provided by your Hosting Provider 
  • Web Site Domain Name - This is your own unique name for your company website. This is highly recommended for a professional appearance. Choosing a good one can be tricky because names must be unique around the world, and many good names have already been registered. Shorter names are generally better than long ones.  
  • Web Site Scale - How big a project are you working on is an important consideration. Large and complex sites often involve many months of work, and benefit greatly from detailed planning. It is important to keep things in perspective. and to launch your site in phases. 
  • Web Site Personality - This establishes the look and feel of how you are represented on the Internet. An important part of this are the features you choose to have as part of your site,  ease of use, and the scale of the project. 
  • Web Site Design - The nuts and bolts of how the site goes together. This includes the technical details of how the component parts of the site are interconnected. You do this so that changes are easier to implement, and you cut down you long term work. 
  • Web Site Maintenance to your web site, consisting of any updates and changes that you may want to make, such as seasonal items, customer coupons, press releases, fixes, corrections, added features, etc.  
  • Web Site Quality - just taking care of simple things like typos, pricing errors, dead links, and other simple simple errors can become a full time job. Beyond a certain point, It pays to have someone dedicated to reviewing the site for problems as part of the Design and Maintenance process 
  • Web Site Advertising - Just because you put something up on the web does not guarantee that people will know that it is there. While you can get listings for the site on the various search engines, it is also important for you to promote and include the website address on your stationary, etc. This way people can use the site to find out about you.

Q. I am concerned about how my Website will look. What advice can you give me?

A. There are several factors that tie into this. 

  • Your Logos, and Corporate Graphics - If you have already spent money of the design of your logos, trademarks, graphics, etc. it is a good idea to see if you can use them as a basic feasture of the website. For example, the colors and logos on this website coordinate with my business card design. I will be setting this up to something that is more artful, while still retaining the logos, etc.  
  • Commonly Accepted Standard Practices - In different industries typical websites will have different appearances. There are certain things that say that a site is Corporate,  Artistic,  or Professional, in whatever field that is talked about. There are certain effects that communicate professionalism. Because you are communicating to your customers as an audience, you have to have an understanding of your customers expectations as a audience so that you can sell your products to them.  
  • Your customer's expectations - This ties in with the Commonly Accepted Standard Practices. For example, A music fan will not expect their favorite band's web site to look like CNN or IBM.  
  • Your own personality - This allows you to fine tune the appearance of your site to taste, keeping in mind the factors above. For example, a site for a company like Carol's Towing, owned by a woman, could feature traditionally feminine symbols and colors as accents. It would have to be done in such a way so as to not distract from the main purpose of promoting the Business. 
  • Some Things Just Take Longer - Certain complex effects, such as animations, and certain looks, like a highly customized graphic menu systems will take longer to put together. Fine tuning these things will  take longer than working from a basic design.