Developing your website
Your customers want the convenience of finding businesses online. If you don't already have one, you may want to consider adding a website to your marketing plan, especially if your competitors have them.
Even if you don't plan to sell your products online, having a website can be an inexpensive and effective way of advertising your business. It allows customers to find your business quickly and to compare your products and services to those offered by your competitors.
The following information may help you develop your website.
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For your business to make the most of the Internet, you need to start with a basic understanding of the different technologies that make it all work. It might be a progressive learning curve, starting with getting your computer connected to the Internet by finding an Internet Service Provider (ISP). What access speed do you require? Remember, generally the faster the speed is, the higher the cost involved.
- Choosing an Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Learn how to choose the right one for your business.
Domain name registration
Before you set up your website, you need to register your domain name. Also called a URL, it is the address that visitors type in to locate a website. You can register the domain name directly through an Internet Service Provider or through a domain registration company.
- Domain names
Are you creating a website for your business? Learn how to choose and register a good domain name.
A basic business website is becoming a standard expectation from the buying public, because the Internet provides quick, easy access to target audiences. When you design a website, it's best to start small and expand as your business grows.
- Plan the website and decide what content should be on it
- Put a team in place to develop and manage the website
- Plan the information flow and structure
- Develop the user interface
Learn more about the website development process.
- Website development process
Find out what steps you can take to ensure your website is developed to best represent your business.
Enhancing your online presence
Make the most of your online presence by ensuring that your website is working effectively for your business. Learn how using the right tools can lead to more visitors for your website; after all, an active online presence is to the benefit of your business.
- Internet search tools
Find out how you can improve the chances of having your business found on the Web.
- Website visibility: Choosing the right meta tags
Get tips to help you improve the way your website is found and displayed by search engines.
- Getting hits
Find out how to attract customers to your website and keep them coming back.
- Website analytics and performance management
Do you want to know how effective your website is? Find out how visitors reach your website, what they do there, and how often they visit.
- BDC Free website assessment
Can you improve your website? Get a free analysis of up to five pages of your website with scores on its accessibility, user experience, popularity and design.
Web 2.0 Website tools
A website can be your most important marketing asset. Potential customers may contact your business and make buying decisions based on the availability and quality of the website. Prospective employees review websites in detail before submitting a resume, and possible suppliers study websites to determine the business' validity and product range.
The main impact of Web 2.0 on the design of small business websites is that there are new tools that allow you and your employees to take advantage of "do-it-yourself" websites. It is easier to update and maintain content, thanks to content management systems that make it easy for non-technical people to publish information to the Internet.
You will want to keep content current, as a fresh website makes a positive impression, but an outdated one reflects poorly on your business. When you develop a website, include a strategy to ensure your content is kept up-to-date long after the launch.
The latest services and online tools can provide new ways to drive traffic to your website:
- Tools such as mashups, small Internet applications that take data from one website to publish it on another, such as a local weather display, can enhance your website.
- Real Simple Syndication (RSS) allows users to subscribe to information updates from any website.
- A variety of website services like webhosting, website management, domain registration and email services can provide new ways to get a message out online.
- Widgets, such as clocks and games, are portable parts of the Internet that you can add to webpages, blogs or profiles.
Other online sales and marketing tools include:
- Customer Relationship Management systems that allow you to track prospects and clients
- Social networking
- Social bookmarking
- Media sharing (photos, videos, podcasts, audio files)
- Blogs and wikis
Learn more about online marketing and Customer Relationship Management systems.
- Online marketing
Online marketing techniques like social networking, emailing and blogging are useful and involve little to no direct costs.
- What is customer relationship management?
In today's competitive market, it is vital for you to manage your relationships with your customers systematically, efficiently and profitably.
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