In the previous article on this series, I mentioned about some of the benefits your business can derive by having a website. You can reap those benefits if you know how to do it right.
However, not all entrepreneurs are technology savvy. Some of them have only a basic understanding of the Internet technology and how to take advantage of this. If you belong to this group, you need not worry. This website is created for business owners just like you who want to learn how to utilize the Internet and related technologies and who don’t want to be bothered by the lesser important details.
It’s true that technology is getting more and more complicated as it advances forward. On the other hand, companies that offer high-tech products and services to their clients are also striving to make it as simple to use and possible for users to be able to adopt and take full advantage of the features and benefits. I’m not sure if you have observed it, but most tech products that thrive in the marketplace are those that are also the most user-friendly even your non-techie grandma can use. Building a basic website is about the same: it’s becoming simpler than ever. Given the right tools and with proper guidance, you can be up to speed in no time.
I believe that there are only three primary skills you need to have for you to be able to utilize these Internet-related technologies into your business. These skills are the following:
- Using Email.
- Using Desktop Applications.
- Ability to Read English.
That’s it. Once you have developed those skills, you are in a position to follow what we are about to show you here. That is, how to develop your business website and how to do it right.
Note: You don’t have to do the actual website building yourself. You can hire other professionals to do it for you or you can buy those off-the-shelf packages. I believe that as a business owner, you should only focus on the core competencies of your business, and leave the nitty-gritty stuff to other people.
So ready? Read the rest of the topic.
What You Need To Get Started
The first two items are a little bit technical, but they are easy to understand. It’s important to remember that you should be the one to buy, control and manage these two important resources. We’ll have more of that in other articles, but right now you all you need is a short introduction to know what they are. The third item is the simplest and easiest to understand.
1. A domain name. It’s the one that appears on the Browser’s Address box as http://www.yourdomain.com. This is your online identity, your address in cyberspace, your single most important online resource.
It’s your name. How good does it sound?
Like your business name, your domain name should also be sticky: Easy to remember and hard to forget.
2. A Web Hosting Account. Remember disk drives, USD flash drive and DVDs? They are digital devices that you primarily use to store files. A web hosting account is a lot like those file storage devices, but it’s actually a whole lot of package which includes, a database server, web server, lot of software, and more. You access it over the Internet and located in a place called the data center, which your web host provider maintains. When it comes to web hosting, you need to get it from a reliable company. You can’t afford a down time.
3. Text, Graphics, Audios and Videos. From your visitors’ point of view, these are the stuff that they see, read or hear. Once assembled together, it’s the doorway to your online business. It’s your chance to make an impression. Make every page count.
Web Pages That CountYour actual website should contain as many text and informative articles as possible. But for a start, the following pages should be considered as essential:
- Home Page – When people visit you from your URL, say www.yourbusiness.com, the home page is very page that they see. Otherwise called as the main page, it should provide links to the most important pages on the website.
- About – This section should have the essential info about your business or your organization. Highlight the following: Company Background and History, Management Team, Vision and Mission Statement, etc.
- Products And Services – What do you have to offer? Put them here and make this module very accessible from the main navigation.
- Contact – Put your contact information here. Email Address or Contact Form, Physical Office Address with Map, Phone and Fax numbers are among the most important information visitors will be looking for.
- Blog – Blogging is not just for kids who are ranting about everything there is to rant. It’s an effective way of giving your faceless company some form of personality. Here’s a two-way communication medium between you and the customer.
Common Sense Web Design Tips
In closing, I’d like to share two timeless web design tips that you can implement anytime.
First, keep it simple. Make it easy for your visitors to navigate your contents. The website is not a showcase of the graphical abilities of the designer. It is a means of delivering your message across. Your important pages should be accessible from any page of your website. Remember to put your audience first. Give them what they are looking. Your website is not for you to visit every day. It’s for your visitors so they can do business with you. Observe that the most popular websites also have the simplest designs.
Finally, make it fast. Avoid fancy graphics and flash animations like you would a contagious disease. I know and I regret it that most website owners love to have kinds of flashy stuff. Do you really think your visitors are there on your website so they can be entertained by your flash animations and to watch your photos? Think about it.