Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Business Website Design - What You Need

(Part One of a four part series. And I will be posting two of these each day.)

by Dustin Schwerman

Whether you're a small company just starting out or an established corporation aiming to boost sales, it is becoming more and more clear that you need a web presence. And more than that, you need a highly impressive, fully-functional, well-optimized business website design. And if you're serious about your website, it also means you need it to be created by a professional. A template simply won't cut it, because websites today need to offer not only an attractive appearance, but also interactive content, a unique look, and proper SEO practices. And chances are, you're going to want to take advantage of the programming power the Internet offers with a selection of programs and functions custom-made to improve your business.

But finding the right web designer is only the first part of the job. You have a role to play in the construction of your website as well, a role that is no less important for being less technical. A website created based on the designer's perceptions (and possibly its misconceptions) is barely better than a template. You don't want a site created based solely on the builder's experience creating websites for other businesses of your type; you want a site created for your business.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the process of search engine optimization, which is going to be one of the main things you have to help with. Naturally, you are not expected to know which keywords have the highest search frequencies and the lowest competition, or what the appropriate ratio of keywords to other text is ideal for a site. Those details fall squarely on your search engine optimizer. However, what you do know are what sorts of words and phrases best describe and define your business, particularly those that set it apart from other businesses. Read any given article on choosing the right keywords, and chances are good that "niche" or "long-tail" will come up. You want to provide the keywords that you know suit your business, the sorts of products you sell, the colloquial terms that are usually used to reference them. Armed with that knowledge, your designer can find the ones that are best for SEO...and probably locate one or two good ones that you might not have considered.

Likewise, while your optimizer will have the job of editing the content of your site for proper keyword density, actually writing that content is a task best left for you. Even if you aren't the best writer in the world, the mechanics of your articles can be edited along with the keywords, but the actual message is something that no designer can optimize. You are the one who knows your business best, the tricks of the trade and the processes involved. By providing the text copy, you assure that your site and articles are informative and accurate.

A final tip: don't ignore your site! Once it's up and running, it isn't going to just work on its own. It will require updates as you get new product lines, changes as you expand. Getting and maintaining a business website design is not an immediate thing and not something that can happen without any effort on the part of the business bringing it into being. To make your site a success, input, information, and patience are what you need.

About the Author

Dustin Schwerman is the head web designer for Truly Unique - Small Business Website Design. Truly Unique works on websites for businesses of all varieties, from office supplies to air conditioning filters.