Developing your website 

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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.

On this page:

Getting connected

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.

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.

Website design

A basic business website is becoming a standard expectation from the buying public. Your site also provides quick, easy access to your 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.

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.

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, can enhance your website (for example adding a local weather display).
  • 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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