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The Ultimate Guide for a Small Business to have an effective Website Presence

September 14, 2015Payman Taei

webdesign_guide_business So you run a small  and you come across this article and wondering what I could teach you about what you already know.Well I won’t tell you that you need to have a website, because unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade you should already have a web presence. Every business regardless of what service or product it provides should have an online presence.  So the question is not whether you should own a website, but the type that is the right fit for your business.   A presence that is right for you, your business and your target audiance. Informational:   This is also often called an online brochure website or a microsite.  It’s sole purpose is to inform your user about your product or services.   The goal is to attract your audience, inform them about your offering and then engage them to contact you. Blog:   Also called a web log (Blog is the common name), acts as a journal of various posts categorized by date and relevant topics.  A blog is the tool of choice for bloggers but also businesses who utilize it as their news and recent event section which in turn helps to better engage with their audience.  For example you are reading this article in our company blog. Portal: Is a dynamic website that brings content together from various sources in a uniform manner.  A search engine is a type of portal, and so are sites that offer news, financial services, entertainment.   Examples of popular portal include Yahoo, CNN, CNBC, EOnline among a few. The consistent look and feel and easy to present categories of information make portals a great favorite of recurring visitors who get attracted to one. Ecommmerce:  Although Amazon.com is the larget e-tailer, there are also tens of thousands of successful online e-tailers selling various products online.   An ecommerce site allows users to directly purchase goods online through a website without the need to have to interact with the seller.  In essence it eliminates the human factor and although this may seem counterintuitive it actually can have great benefits if deployed properly.     For example how often do you walk into a retail store knowing exactly what you want?  You grab what you need, bypass the sales person and checkout.   This type of shopping is of great benefit to e-tailers. types_of_websites To maximize the effectiveness of your web presence, you need to first establish the primary goal of your website.   Is it to just inform your user and entice them to contact you?  or to sell product(s) online,  or is it meant to provide a solution through a portal. Once you have determined your type of presence, it’s time to create or upgrade (we call this Redesign) your existing presence to fit the needs of its purpose.  Here are a few key rules to follow to improve your web presence.   Whether you are looking to do this on your own or hire a professional web design for the job, the following will help you a great deal to better prepare and follow through the process. Tip: You may need to dedicate a few hours to this;  I promise you it will be worth the trouble.  It’s a good idea to form these into a small text document (ex. Microsoft Word, PDF) as It will not only help you to set the tone but also serve as the scope of work for your project.   Infact this process is often called the “Discovery” process and web agencies including our own charge hundreds of dollars if not more to create one for you. Establish the purpose of your site and target audience: Decide which of the above categories fits your business needs;  is it going to be an informational, blog, portal or an ecommerce site?   Also determine your target audience; what is the expected demographic and age range? are they individuals, executives, SMB’s (small / mediium business owners), etc..? This information will help you to formulate your content and help the agency designer create a theme and style that can appeal to your audience. Site Architecture:  Next create a wireframe so it can serve as a roadmap for your site.  Think of your users.  Who will visit your site?  What do you want them to take away from their visit? Use your answers to come up with a breakdown of your primary web pages.   Keep it clean and concise and stick to the basics.  Visit a few of your competitor websites that you feel are doing a good job of promoting their business;  this can give you a great starting point to work from.

Payman Taei
Payman Taei is the Founder of HindSite Interactive (he doesn't like using the word "CEO" it's way too Formal), an award winning web design and web development company. He's also the Founder of Easy WebContent, Do It Yourself platform allowing everyone to easily create, manage professional websites, presentations & infographics.

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