This is Web Site 101, also known as painless web design.
It is not going to teach you how to design a web site, but it will teach you how to approach the project and work with a web developer. The good news is that you donít have to know how to design a web site, because there are plenty of good web designers who do quality work and they are affordable.
If your web designers donít know how to do inexpensive web design, chances are they either want to overcharge you, or they donít know how to produce inexpensive, high quality web sites. You should be able to find an inexpensive web designer. Let the expensive web designers practice their art on whomever is willing to pay their exorbitant prices.
Q. How many large companies have a web site?
A. Practically all of them.
Q. How many medium sized companies have a web site?
A. Practically all of them.
Q. How many small businesses have a web site?
A. Most of them. Many small business can benefit from ďword of webĒ advertising.
Q. How many Mom and Pop kind of small businesses have a web site?
A. Probably more than you would imagine. However, many Mom and Pop stores have contacted web designers who have told them it would cost them thousand of dollars just to start. In every business there are predators, but there are also some heroes and heroines easily found.
Q. How about professionals, like doctors, lawyers, dentists, realtors, etc.? What is their approach?
A. Some professionals have great web sites, and some only have a few listings. Many professionals will often do a cost-benefit analysis as part of a cost justification. They usually start with several simple directory listings. When justified, they usually have a simple web page designed so that all the listings can be linked over to the target page. Over time, and with more justification, they may have the web designer build a web site of several pages. Professionals such as these might do better with a web design company such as Wake Forest Web Design or AeroScore, which has 92 domain names, 92 web sites, hundreds of web pages to post listings on, their own domain registration service, and can meet anyoneís needs for ramped up listings at many sites prior to the serious web design work. Realtors will additionally want their site to link into the MLS services they pay for.
Q. Will my business get left behind if it doesnít have a web site?
A. Not necessarily, but if you are running a business you should at the very least consider advertising your business on the internet with some simple listings. A simple listing can usually be arranged for a few dollars. Adding in a single web page with the right marketing can be highly effective. Many simple listings can be key to getting the right traffic to the simple page.
Q. How much should I need to know to get started?
A. If you just want a listing, all you need to know is your contact info, the kind of business you are in, and how to contact me or a web designer in your area. You should not have to pay more than $35 or $40 for an entire year. [Note: Date of article is 11/22/04]
Examples of Simple Web Advertising with no Web Page or Web Site:
- Listing, Text Only, [otherwise known as a simple directory listing].
- Text Listing in Testimonial or Review Form
- Listing with graphic,
- Banner ad - no link.
Will the ads alone do what you want to accomplish? Do you think youíll need a web page? Or do you think you will need a multiple page web site? You can always add more later.
Okay, so the intimidation factor should now be over. If I totally lost you, it is probably because you are thinking too far ahead, so come back here. Now, you know you can get on the internet and it can be very inexpensive! Just make sure the web designer is not trying to sell you on their ultimate, wicked expensive, totally confusing stuff, and you will be all set. In fact, armed with what you just read, if you donít want anything any fancier, you might want to stop reading this, because you are ready to contact a web designer.
As a recap, you can go with just simple ads, with no web page, and your business can still have what we call an internet presence.
STOP AND TAKE A BREATHER BEFORE CONTINUING.
The next part helps you to decide if you need a simple web page or a web site, and starts to discuss internet marketing, followed by a case study in which we combine all elements.
You decided you at least need a web page, because you want to provide more detailed information about your business, your services, or products.
Now, letís consider just a little of that totally confusing stuff, and put it simple English that all can understand.
Letís rev it up a notch. Weíve covered listings for now. Next, we talk about simple web pages. Again, the web designer does not need to start complicating things by talking in language you neither want nor need to understand.
If you want a single page web site, and you do the marketing, you should be able to put what it is that you do in words. Include what is unique about your business. What sets you apart from your competition? What do you have that they donít have? What can you do? When you think about yourself as a specialist, also think about what kind of work you donít do, and that will define you and your business. If your business has a logo, ask the web designer if they will use it. It should not cost too much extra. If the web designer is remote (rather than local), you can usually find a copy center that will scan the photo for you, and you can email the logo to the web designer. Like many web design companies, AeroScore has some great graphic designs, and also has an excellent source for web graphics.
Also, if you have pictures, they tell a thousand words, and most web designers will welcome them. If you do not have a digitized picture, and the web designer is local, ask them if they also have photography skills. Most good web designers will have photography skills or know of someone nearby. The photo does not have to be superb and expensive. Ensure you have say over copyright usage. If not, get a photographer release, and if you can take possession of the film or data cartridge, that is usually a good idea. If not, the release is critical. At minimum, if the photographer keeps the master, get a license to use the photo.
Are you with me so far? Donít get ahead of me by thinking about all those questions that we havenít come to yet. My goal is to tell you everything in plain English, so I am NOT going to get into any tricky stuff. We will leave that to the web designer to deal with.
If you only need a web page, and not a web site, a good web designer should be able to quickly build an effective one for you that is extremely inexpensive.
Case Study 1: New Product Introduction / Time to Market
After reading the case study, you should be aware of the powerful marketing combination of several well-placed links that point to a nicely done, yet inexpensive web page.
This concludes Web Site 101. The next section is about the design of a simple web page and how to communicate with your web developer. After that, we will quickly discuss web hosting and domain names.
When you are ready, go to Web Design.