Making a Web Site
What do I need on my site? Just enough!
When creating a Web site it's tempting to put as much information as possible there, causing it to be cluttered, confusing and unfocused. The best business web sites deliver the answers to the questions that customers ask:
What you do?
Tell people what you do in a simple statement. Avoid technical details on the opening page, link to other pages for this.
Where you do it?
Make it clear where you work. If you are a local business name the towns that you operate in. This helps search engines find your page.
Why choose you?
Name professional qualification, give examples of work done and, if they agree, name previous customers. If it's a person to person business, include a picture of you.
How to contact you?
Have a contact page that gives all the details that you want to give. You will need an e-mail address but it might be worth concealing it behind a contact form. Include a telephone number: consider 0800, 0845 or 0870 number to encourage callers (YLE Web can arrange these for you if you need one). If you want people to visit you then include an accurate map.
What do you charge?
Be careful when putting prices on your site, your telling your competitors as well as your customers. If you do include prices make sure that they are kept current.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the true black art of the Internet. A lot of people spend a lot of money trying to get high rankings on Google, MSN and Yahoo etc, only to lose it when the search engines change their rules. The best way to get a high rating is to be popular - get visitors to your site. What do your customers say to you when you talk to them, what questions do they ask? This is what they will search for on the Web and these are the phrases that you need in your site.
YLE Web can monitor your site to check which searches hit the site and then optimise the wording to encourage people to explore the site more. Wording is also tuned to pick up searches that should be hitting the site but are not appearing.
Get the Name Right
The name of the site gives a searcher their first impression of the site's content: both the title of the page and the domain name. The domain name should be easy to remember and easy to say over the telephone ( www.page1fleet.co.uk always caused problems for a friend of mine: is it number "1" or "o n e"?)
Get a Second Opinion
If you are producing your own site then get someone else to look at it, and be open to suggestions. Its very easy to get carried away and lose the focus of the site. You might understand how to move around the site, but how easy is it for someone else. YLE Web can do this for you, ask us for a quote (the price depends on the size of the site).
Web Site Tips
Pictures always enhance a web site but be careful what you add. If you have pictures available (either scanned or from a digital camera) then don't just add them as they are, use JPEG compression. This can reduce them from multi-megabyte file that takes minutes to download even over broadband, to a few 10Ks that an unaccelerated dial-up modem can handle.
Graphics can make a site look good but they can stop search engines from finding your site. Always use the important words in a graphic somewhere in the text (especially the business name)
Make it obvious how to move from page to page and have no more that 2 ways. Links are usually underlined by browsers, so avoid underlining text for emphasis, use bold or italics.
Selling on-line looks easy but you need to have a proper mail order business behind it if it's going to work. You have to be able to minimise credit card abuse, be able to handle returns and refunds, deliver on time, and keep the customer informed.
Avoid having things moving on you page. Only use flashing graphics if you want draw attention to something important.
How long did you just spend reading the scrolling message? Did you read the message before looking at the rest of the page? Avoid using tricks like this unless you want to say something very important.
If your site is of interest to non-English speakers you should include pages in their languages. Automated translations can be made but these fall foul of some gross errors which will be embarassing at least and could be damaging. For a professional Web page you need a good native-language translator who understands more than the language, they need to understand usage as well. Take a look at our affiliates, Click2Translate, and read about their full service:
Contact YLE Web for all your Internet needs.
Tele/Fax: 01252 665737
Types of Site
Business websites can be considered in four main categories:
An Ad site is a one page site that gives basic information. This is the type of site that is included in Your Local Experts. They can be a simple as a business card that give essential contact information or can be slightly bigger and give some information about what you do. Even if your site is part of a larger site it is worth getting your own domain name: it just looks so much more professional. If you have a page on YLE the hosting is free, you only pay for the development of the page and its annual maintenance.
Brochure sites contain 3 or 4 pages that give a lot more information about what you do and where you do it. You can include samples of your work (either pictures of work done or examples of what you sell). A separate contact page can be included that lets people send you a message without revealing your email address (Formail). With a brochure site you can deliver a strong sales message and provide plenty information for the search engines to use. YLE Web will host a brochure site for £20+VAT per year, with site development typically costing £200 - £300 (+VAT).
Catalogue sites give detail of the full range of products and services that you offer. Pages are organised around your business model (for example: sometimes its best to list products by supplier; sometime you can offer a comparison between similar products from different suppliers). YLE Web can host a catalogue site at prices that start around £50+VAT per year. Site development will start at around £500 but will be a lot more if you have a lot of different items.
The on-line shop takes the catalogue a step further by allowing customers to buy directly from your site. This does not means that you can sit back and just watch the money roll in, you will need to service the orders quickly and accurately. YLE Web can host your online shop for around £200 + VAT per year, but if you have a lot of business it would be best if we set up a dedicated server so that response times are acceptable to your customers. Site development will cost from £1000 + VAT.
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