When many of us think emerging media we do not really think of websites since they have been around for quite some time now, but in 2010 almost 50% of small businesses did not have a website. That is mind blowing to me. I am not sure the last time I opened a phone book to find a business (or well anything for that matter). Okay I’ll admit, most likely not everyone needs a website to be successful, but most companies do and if you even have and inkling that you should have one you probably need one.
The first problem is where do you go to get your domain name to even start your own website? Well if you have ever wondered what those Go Daddy commercials were selling look no farther, but there are a variety of companies that also provide domain names for you. Some of those others are: Register, Network Solutions, 1&1, and Yahoo Domains. Okay now that that is settled and you know where to get your domain name and you paid to officially have a link to your site (hopefully you got your company name).
Now it is down to the actually design of the site. I suggest a few things one if you do not know what you are doing you might want to actually pay someone to create it for you (I would be going the route of paying someone for sure). Before you hop in your car and run off to the tech savvy high school kid down the street to build your website; sit down and take some time and think how you would want to see your website (you may need some paper and a pencil to do some simple layouts). We have all looked at websites that we liked and here is what I see these websites have in common.
Good websites are written in easy to understand language none of those pretentious words like we were supposed to know for those standardized tests in high school. Key word there we were apparently supposed to know them. Guess what I still do not know them. Why, well because I do not use them to talk or to get you to understand what I am saying. That said if your clients are pretentious well maybe you do need big pretentious words otherwise speak like the people you hope to be drawing to your site. The way your content should be written is what Steph Hay calls the mom test. That is if your mom does not understand what you are trying to say then well how do you expect others to understand? This is where you give your website some personality and character (just like your business has a personality with consumers make it one voice).
Good websites have easy navigation paths. Nothing will turn an on-line customer away faster than not being able to click through your website to find what they are looking for. That said your contact information should be clear and easy to find on every page and give the customer every opportunity to reach out to you. This may require that you have links on the top and bottom of the page to help navigate (I personally do hate reading something just to scroll back to the top to move to another page).
Good websites clean and clear page layout. That is words are large enough and have enough contrast from the background to be easily read. Pictures are well organized and placed orderly on the page. Remember all ages may be looking at your website. You do not need lots of motion, music, or glitz and glitter to keep people, quite contrary you actually want some white space. This serves as a resting place for your eyes. No need to try and give people a headache as punishment for looking at your site.
Lastly a good website is capable of being used on multiple platforms. It is predicted that by 2015 more people will access the internet through a mobile device (phone or tablet) than by a computer, so make sure you website displays properly across the device divide. Not only that but do you use Internet Explorer (maybe even an old version), what about Apple’s Safari, or Firefox, or Google Chrome, or maybe even a Lenox device. That is a lot of choice and guess what your website might not display properly if it is not coded properly. That is why I suggest a professional make your website, but they do not have to be expensive to do a great job.
Good websites solicit feedback. That is right they get feedback on their site and work to make it better and easier to use. That means they care what others think about their site and want you to keep coming back to visit. That is the ultimate goal right to have people come back and spend their time on your website and not somewhere else.
With all this it can easily overwhelm a small company or even a stuck in the old way of doing things fortune 1000 company. You are not alone and there is plenty of help out there you just have to look. Plus you know what business people really do what to help you. I suggest you find a business person you respect and see what they can do to help. Plus if you have a website that violates these ideas well maybe you need to find out what you can to improve your website. If you learn nothing else that you read remember this: every aspect of your business is a marketing tool, forget that and well you miss a whole heap of potential.