Your Website: Tips to Get Started

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Planning-tips before designing a website

It's a foregone conclusion that if you own a business, you need a website. Even if you live in a cave, and sell cave-drawing material, you will benefit from having an online presence. The trick is making the right online presence. Designing a website that fits your particular business model and marketing needs requires some pre-production consideration. To help companies just starting out, we have put together a checklist of things to think about before hiring a web designer (even if it's not us).

First, let's start out with the basics. What do you want your website to do for you? The first question we usually get is "how much does a website costs?" Before we can answer that, we need to know a lot of details, and this is where we usually start. Lots of people can build a website, but building the one that fits your needs requires some detective work.There are several general categories that helps narrow the field of choices down. Let's start with just three broad website categories.

Online Brochure Website:

These websites are basically expanded informational brochures so prospective clients/customers can learn more about your company and products. This doesn't mean your website has to be boring. Using the latest web 2.0 technology, multimedia and effective web design, TBG can create a stunning, informative website for you showcasing your company/products. The follow-up question to this type of website is "what do you want people to do after they learn more about your company/products. (More on that later)

Business Builder Website:

This type of website offers all the information from an online brochure website, with one major difference: you expect your website to generate leads from the Internet. Rather than just telling your customers to go to your website and read/watch the information, a business builder website needs to channel potential customers to your site using several different strategies like search engines, online advertising, online marketing and key word optimization of your site. In order to for your website to generate a lot of traffic, be prepared to work hard. First and foremost, you need content worth visiting. Professional web design, multimedia, galleries and well thought-out organization and navigation are essential, but without great content, it's just so much fluff.

eCommerce Website:

The next step is to actually sell products online using a shopping cart and payment processor. If you are thinking about selling products online, you can combine all the aspects of an information website with an online shopping cart. Your site doesn't have to be just a shopping cart. You can have galleries, streaming video, Flash-based multimedia, audio, music -- anything that will help sell your products, plus, the shopping cart. Obviously eCommerce websites are more complicated than an informational website, and thus costs more to develop. However, with the advances in web 2.0 technology and content management systems, TBG can develop an online store that is surprisingly affordable.

Once you decide on the basic type of website you would like, it's time to move on to the next step: