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Developing Your Website

The developer is on board with your vision.
The graphic artist is ready to go.
The tech guy is ready to write your website’s code.

But…there are other elements to remember when developing your website. When business owners contemplate launching (or re-launching) their online brand, they worry over a basic list of things: the right domain name, the look of the website, and the pages they need. But most business owners don’t realize they need to think about some other critical elements that can have a huge impact on their online presence.

For each website implementation, there are 4 key elements you need to work on – the look, the usability, search engine optimization and arguably one of the most important – what you’re going to say. The web developer, graphic designer and coder can help with most of these, but content is always the responsibility of the business owner.

  1. Website Look – Putting Your Brand Online

    While your site must convey your brand’s look and feel, you’ll need to think about how your site actually appears to visitors: the use of colors, fonts, logos, the page layout, backgrounds, photos and graphics. Choosing the right look for a website is critical: it needs to reflect your brand while also making sense. Site owners need to think carefully about the physical appearance: how many columns or boxes? Sidebars? Will you need space for various plug-ins (a recent tweets box, for example, or a signup form), or featured photos? Do you need an e-commerce site? These are just a few of the factors a web designer will need to understand when tackling your website.

  1. Website Usability – Make Your Site Work For Your Customers

    How does the site actually work? Consider how your targeted visitors will use your site. You’ll need to spend time thinking about how they will navigate around. Does it make sense? Is it simple to move around and find what they need? Is it easy to see and read everything? Usability also refers to the technical behavior of your website – in addition to how your navigation functions, this takes into account what happens when someone fills out a form, presses a LIKE button, or views the site on a mobile device.

  1. SEO – See Your Site In Search Results

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a moving target. Companies like Google, Yahoo and others are constantly changing and rebalancing their ranking criteria, largely behind closed doors. Nonetheless, SEO is one of the four critical components of a successful website launch. There are technical SEO actions that can be taken (for example, improving the quality of sites linking to your content, shortening the loading times of your site, and buying your domain name for longer periods of time) and there are also plenty of content-related SEO things you can do. For example, select appropriate keywords but don’t overuse them, ensure constant website updates and create keyword-rich permalinks. For example, use ww.example.com/winter-planting instead of www.example.com/164jgj5334aO).

  1. Website Content – Attracting and Engaging Your Customers and Prospects

    Content is what convinces your customers to buy from you. But…what are you going to say on your website? Can you really write the words that will bring in sales? Business owners typically don’t remember that they are the ones responsible for the website content. But this is one of the most important elements of a company’s online presence.

Here is some of what you’ll need to know when creating content for your website. Think carefully about how you write your site’s content. Are you speaking to your customers in their language?  Ask yourself is my material relevant and focused on my target audience? Content is what your visitors want; they want to know how your services or products can solve their problems. They want to know about your company. Information is why they are visiting your site. The best-looking and performing website is worthless if you fail to deliver the content your customers want when they visit.

But content is important beyond your customers…it’s also a major component of SEO. Google expects fresh content regularly. It also reads your material to understand your website’s subject matter and industry. For example, if you are consistently posting content about hardy cold-weather vegetables on your automotive repair company website, Google may not rank your business as highly as you’d like in your desired automotive categories. Keep it relevant to your business. And for goodness sake – start a gardening blog!

A successful website needs to balance all four of these elements equally. A text-only site with poor graphics or a site with no navigation, broken links or performance-related issues is just as weak as a beautiful site which doesn’t explain how you help customers – these sites leave the customer unengaged and uninterested in converting to customer status!

When putting your website together, what was the most difficult part for you?