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Tips on Web Design

Last Updated: August 29th, 2020
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ALL are advised to consult an expert for your particular application.

1. I've got a website - why don't I have new customers?
2. I'd like lots of great graphics and animations on my website - what's wrong with that?
3. What should my website look like?
4. What's a "hosting company" and why do I care?
5. What is a Domain name and Who owns your domain name?

This is a very common question. Think about how many people there are in your city and how many businesses. If you had a retail store in the wrong location - how many people would actually go into your store? Not many, maybe even none.

The Internet, or "web" is just that, a vast web of computers and websites with search engines trying to figure out what's here and there. How are people going to find your website? How did you find this website? You likely searched for something specific, heard our name, or saw our marketing materials. This website has been up for a few years and how long have you been on the Internet? And you never read this page before?

Having a website does not in itself generate customers unless you're lucky and you have a product that is so unique and in such demand that people are going crazy to get to you - in which case you're probably making millions even without the Internet. Otherwise your website will be like most websites, unknown unless there is a marketing campaign or "draw" to bring customers in. The website tells people about your company, but you still have to get them there.

Having a website should be part of your business image and marketing campaign created to target your customers (optimized for web search engines).

Your website should match your image, marketing campaigns, and marketing materials.  It should be targeted towards your customers. 

First Problem:  Make sure the graphics and animations are appropriate for your business type and customer base. Make sure all photos and graphics are appropriate to the message. Having a picture of yourself on your website, ensure that the photo reflects your company image.

Second Problem: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  If you want people to actually find your website then the search engines must be able to see your site. Currently search engines can't read the words that are in graphics and most animations. So the search engines will have no idea what your web site does and may even stop looking at it!

Third Problem: How many websites have you gone to that have a wonderful intro that you have to wait through to get to what you want?  Now will you go back to that site and wait through it again or is it a "Gee that's a beautiful introduction" and you won't want to wait through the intro again?    That's why many sites have a "skip intro" link or button on the screen. Most professionally done websites will not have an intro at all  The first time is wonderful, beyond that it is annoying.

Your website should look exactly like the rest of your marketing materials.    A single image to present to your customers.   Your business cards, your brochures, your advertising, and your website should all deliver the same look and the same message.  It typically takes repeated exposures by customers to a single message before that message is remembered.   If you present multiple images then you've lost the exposure and probably will be forgotten.  
Branding: Same logo, same words, same delivery, same products, same service, every time.

If you don't have consistency then your potential customer doesn't understand what you do.  You have to deliver a consistent message, a consistent way, in web, print, and in person.  Who are you, what do you do, and can you help me?
A hosting company is the company that "hosts" your website. That means the files, programs and graphics that make up your website have to sit on a web server computer that is connected, hopefully by very high speed, to the Internet.

You care about this because they have all your marketing material that can be presented to millions or billions of people on the Internet and if they are having problems - so are you! Problems such as server crashes with no spare server, communication line crashes with no backup connection to the Internet, drive crashes with no backup of your website! Technicians taking a vacation and no backup for when you need help or they have a problem. All these things translate into your website being unavailable. How professional does your company look if a customer wants to go to your website to "check you out", one of the most common uses of websites, and it's not available.

Do you have the passwords to your website? There are passwords needed to access the hosting companies servers where your website is stored. Many web developers don't tell their customers about this. You should always have a copy of the current passwords locked away just in case your web designer moves back to Idaho, or Iowa or … This happens more often that you think, and unfortunately we end up with a lot of customers this way. We call it our web rescue service, recovering a website after the original developer has disappeared.
A domain name is simply your Internet name - eg; gouldintelligent.com as opposed to your business name, eg: Gould Intelligent, LLC. The person registering the domain name -owns it, and I mean owns it, they can move it, shut it down, make it do other things.

So when you're having a website created with a new domain name, make sure that you own the domain name and not your web developer. As we stated in the previous question many web developers disappear and oops - there goes your domain name too. Or how about the story of the developer who blew a fuse and switched the domain over to point to a nasty website - now what will your customers think?

Make sure you own your domain name and you have your passwords to your site.

This information is provided as a general guideline only. Specific implementations will vary the application of this information and/or procedures significantly.