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Do you need a web site?
That is the question business owners often ask themselves… Every business needs a website today, but a better website question might be how much website you need. The answer usually depends upon the type of product or service you offer and on your competitions presents on the web.
Some products and services are more suited for web marketing than others. But, a well designed website can also be a great tool for communicating with existing customers, suppliers, prospective customers and the public at large. Therefore, websites can be used for maintaining clients, as well as gaining new business.
The Internet has grown quite a bit over the last few years and we know more about the people that use it. It appears that company websites are more important for products and services that are “high-involvement” purchases, like cars, finance, computer equipment, home improvement and professional services. In these cases, the shopper actively seeks details for comparison, prior to making a purchase and today most shoppers are starting with the web and search engines.
If you are thinking about creating or expanding your website, we suggest focusing first on being a major force in your local/regional area. Focusing on a regional target first, will increase the likeliness of success when it comes to search engine optimizing and high rankings and helps you focus on a specific market. For example- Bay Area web design and SEO.
Example: Most people will search first on “Widget” and find that there are 100 trillion search listing results. Been there? Then they tend to weed down their search by adding the region they want. I.e. “Widgets for sale in San Francisco” or “Widgets for sale in the Bay Area.”
When you decided to join the growing number of businesses who have a website, you must give thought to the type of site you will need. What does this mean? Apart from the 'look' of the site, content and functionality should be considered too.
Web design and function options
Simple Web Design
Simple web design options range from a single page websites with basic contact details, to company informational website with brochure like layouts that incorporate basic product images and service descriptions and an online contact form. Subtle flash header design are encouraged to add a since of movement and style. A full flash design website is NOT recommended, because they’re nearly impossible to organically place well on search engines
Complex Web Design
Add e-commerce functions with online credit card payments, purchases tracking, up and cross selling. Allow interactivity with the site and other customers, provide personal login with custom member options and varying access to data. Dynamic calendars, live help, voice audio, video, complex flash productions are all just a few of the options to consider. The good news is, you don’t have to decide on everything now. Most of these options can be added later, so don’t feel pressured to think of everything before starting.
What not to do
We think a big mistake a lot of business owners make in choosing a web design, is forgetting about the audience and market. What do they need to see and read first? How fast can we convey your message? Can it grab their attention? Can a new visitor to your website tell what the site is about within three (3) seconds or less? With the growth of broadband, that’s about all you have…3 seconds!
The next biggest mistake is trying to get “it” all on the front/home page. Many business owners believe everything is important and are compelled to try to get “it” all upfront. Clutter is confusing and stressful. Clutter is evil! Try to resist it.
However, a certain amount of text must be home page for not only the viewer, but also the search engines. It’s a balancing act to make the search engines happy and the webpage uncluttered and quickly readable. This is where a well rounded web designer will earn their keep (if you let them!).
This brings us to next and probably most over looked issue: Search Engine Optimizing (SEO). It doesn’t matter how pretty your website is if no one can find it! On average, 80% of your web traffic will come from search engines, assuming of course your website is on search engines and placed fairly high.
What is SEO?
Ideally, you want to place high on search engines “Organicly.” This means ranking high on search engines without paying for search engine ads.
Web design pricing
In many cases the development costs for hand-coded web sites with custom built shopping carts, custom product database and online payment capability starts at around $5,000. For larger sites requiring complex coding and special functionality it's easy to go over $10,000. For the more basic, yet also successful static websites, expect to pay from $1,500 to $3,000. For low cost websites, Cablecar Web Design is your best choice.
Controlling cost can be accomplished by being very organized, keeping the art/graphic work simple, using free online payment systems such as Pay-Pal, taking your own photos and having ready your digitized logo and text content. If a web designer senses that you are organized and have your content ready to go, you can count on paying far less for a quality website. When prospective clients ask “how fast can we get the site up live,” we always reply “as fast as you can get us the content.”
Sometimes, clients need guidance on how and what they need for a website. This is particularly true with larger organizations, Non-profits, larger website projects and new ideas and concepts. Be upfront if this is your case. Most good web-design firms are very familiar with this process and will charge a minimal consulting fee to figure it all out for you. This will save you thousands of dollars if it’s a big project and make sure that you get the project down for a responsible price.
Online Payment Options
Online payment systems There are numerous options for accepting online credit card transactions (ecommerce-enable). The one we like is: Online shopping by KO