Tips for Creating a Successful Website
What is the Purpose of the Your Web Site?
The purpose of your website and your target audience are the first considerations you need to make when deciding about creating or upgrading a website. Will your website be a "Yellow Page" ad for your business, are you going to sell products, or do you have something else in mind? If you are going to sell goods or services online then you will need a secure ecommerce site and be able to accept credit card payments. Follow this hyperlink for information about an online merchant credit card processing account. Having a clear understanding of the purpose of your website and your target audience will help guide your decisions about the content of the site and who should create the website.
What Content Will the Website Have?
One of the most important and overlooked part of any website is the text that will be displayed to the people that visit your site. Properly explaining to the visitor of your website what your pages are about is extremely important. Having all or most of the text written before you attempt to create your website will save you many headaches and writing good text for your website is something that only you can do properly. A good web developer can help with suggestions as to what the content should be on the different pages and you should consult with one, but they are not experts about your business, you are! I know writing essays like you did in English 101 is a pain, but it is a necessity if you want your website to be successful. The search engines also read the text so they can determine what the pages are about and rank them accordingly in the search results. For proper search engine optimization (SEO) each page should deal with one specific topic and should have at minimum 250 words of text. For more information about SEO please refer to our Search Engine Optimization Tips page.
What Will the Website Look Like?
Next you need a clear idea of what your website will look like. From the general layout of the pages and navigation structure to the colors used on the site and the type of fonts used for the text. It is a good idea to find a number of existing websites that you like and do not like. This is a good frame of reference when you are trying to communicate your vision to a web developer.
Who will Design Your Website?
If you are not going to create the website yourself, then deciding on who will create the website for you is extremely important. There are many "amateurs" pretending to be web developers which can makes it difficult to decide who to select. Many web developers can make a nice looking website but that is not the most important thing to look for. Also keep in mind that the actual looks of the site are dictated by the person that wanted the website created not the person who designed it. A website that you may not find appealing may be exactly what their customer wanted. To really get an idea about a web designer's skills you need to look at the underlying code that was used to create the website. An improperly written website may look fine on the surface but there can be many problems that especially affect search engine rankings and cross browser compatibility. Cross browser compatibility refers to how your site is displayed in the different web browsers that people use, such as Internet Explore, Firefox, and Safari, and is one of the biggest problems we see with websites. In most cases the website just looks terrible but sometimes the website can be illegible to humans.
Checking the code on a web page may sound like a daunting task but it is very easy for you to check. To check if the pages are properly written you can visit The W3C Markup Validation Service and type in the URL of any page you would like to check. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop web standards. Another important thing to look for is the existence of a "robots.txt" file. This file is used for telling the search engines what to index and what not to index on your website. To test to see if the file exists, you can type "<www.domainname.com>/robots.txt" in the address bar of your browser. For instance to view our robots text file you would type "www.mcgelec.com/robots.txt". If the file does not exist on the website you are checking, then it is a safe bet that the site is not properly setup for search engine optimization (SEO).
You should always check samples of a web designer's work before you decide on who is going to get your hard earned money. Please see our website samples page for samples of our recent work.
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