Getting your website right

In my last
article, we discussed some important considerations that small businesses
should make when planning to take their business online.

A
primary consideration when creating your online presence is to understand your
customer. Learn how they use the Internet, how they shop, what information they
look for and what authorities they trust, then create a website that caters to
their needs.

Your
website will serve as your online storefront and may be the first place a
potential customer will see your company for the first time. It makes sense
then to engage a professional web designer who can work with you to ensure the
best graphic representation, website organisation and development for your
brand image are created.

 

Designing a template

Your design should be clean and easy to
understand. Your home page should easily identify what your business is about
and what your site offers. Remember to include your company logo, navigational
links, introductory content, contact details or link and an image if necessary.

 

Navigation

It is important for your visitor to easily
navigate through your website. Make sure the important links are in prominent
places, preferably at the top of the page – that’s usually where a visitor will
look first. It is also a good idea to include your important links on every
page of your website.

Fonts and colours

Another important element in your website design
is the way in which text is displayed. Consistency with fonts is key to
creating a professional, easy to read website. Don’t use fonts that are not
supported by most computers. And, don’t use colors that are hard to view on
screen. Bright yellow or pink for instance should probably be avoided. Use
colours that are in sync with your logo and that are in keeping with your brand
image. Remember, your goal is to launch a professionally designed site that
contributes to your credibility and sells your business and its services.

 

Checklist for launching

Before launching your website, it pays to check
some basic elements that could affect the performance of your site.  Here are a few guidelines.

 

Ensure that all links are
working

Always
check for broken links before launching your website to a live server. It is
important to make sure that visitors to your site find the information they are
looking for and are not sent to pages that do not exist.

 

Make your site easy for
search engines to find

Before writing the text for your website, do a
little research on what keywords a potential visitors might use to find your
website. You can access one of many free keyword search tools to assist you. By
including as many keywords as possible within the text of your website, you
will increase the chance for search engines to find your website. Another way
to improve search engine compatibility is to create custom meta tags for each
page of your website, and make sure to include informative and descriptive page
titles.

 

Proofread all web site content

It is
not uncommon to find websites with exciting designs but with content riddled
with grammatical and spelling errors. This reflects poorly on your company, so
make sure all information is checked and double-checked.

 

Your web site should look the
same in all browsers

Cross-browser compatibility is very important.
Before launching, verify that your site is accessible to people using all of
the major browsers. There are tools that can take snapshots of your web pages
across different browsers, screen resolutions and operating systems and your
designer can take care of this for you.

Of course, prior to your design
and launch, it is expected that you would have covered your bases in terms of
having a domain name that has commercial and market appeal. As a new or
established small business, your domain name should easily identify your
business and what you do. That means it should be in keeping with your brand –
which is why companies find it easier and more effective to use their name,
rather than trying to be too clever about an identity.

It
is also expected that you would have identified a suitable host to launch and
maintain your website. Cayman businesses have a choice of whether to go with a
local host who may be easily accessible, or opt for a host from another country
– such as the United States — for example. There are beneficial considerations
for both, so do your research and talk to other small business owners before
deciding what’s best for your business.

It’s a brave new world online…if
you haven’t done so already, step in and take your business to a whole new
level.

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