This page is intended for those who are planning their
first Web site. (The dictionary
offers additional definitions of some common terms.)
If you're well acquainted with the basics, please proceed to the
Do I need a Web site?
The public now expects businesses and organizations
to have a Web site that can, at the very least,
supply basic information and a means of getting
in contact. Web sites have become nearly as commonplace
as a telephone or fax machine or printed brochure.
Today, a good site for a medium-sized business
should be attractive and professional in appearance.
But above all, it should effectively communicate
your message to your target audience.
Will a Web site make my
business immediately more successful?
Does a phone, or fax machine or brochure? All
are means of promotion and communication, but
need to be used effectively. On the other hand,
neglecting to have one of these tools can put
the organization at a serious disadvantage.
So I've decided to get a Web site.
How can I tell who can design a good one for me?
You must do some homework, and compare what is
being offered by various designers. Study their
own sites, and look carefully and critically at
sites they have already produced. Try to test
these sites with a variety of browsers.
Some warning signs:
- Poor organization, making it difficult to
find the information you want.
- Pages that load slowly. Many people will not
- Colors or graphics that make the actual content
harder to read and absorb.
- Graphics that are jagged or fuzzy.
- A general appearance that could be confused
with a "personal homepage" by a hobbyist,
and that can make your business seem less than
- A site that looks great on the most current
browsers and state of the art computers, but
that is unusable on older systems.
- Dead ends. No one should ever have to click
on a link that sounds interesting, wait for
that page to download, and then be greeted by
an "Under Construction" sign. Never.
My nephew has a copy of Front
Page. Can he develop my Web site?
Maybe. Judge his work by the standards mentioned
What will make my site good?
We've already discussed several important issues:
- Ease of finding important information
- Attractive and professional appearance
- Fast downloads
- Good accessibility for all computers/browsers
as well as for disabled visitors (see information
about this site)
But a different quality, often overlooked, may
be the most important:
Give your audience a reason to visit your
Define your target audience, and give them a
compelling reason to visit. Don't restrict yourself
to a "brochure site" that is essentially
an advertisement. On the Web, people search for
information or "freebies" -- something
that is of use to them. Useful sites keep their
visitors for longer periods, and have return visitors.
A good designer can help you plan a strategy for
incorporating useful content.
Which leads to another important point:
Keep the Web site up to date, and keep
adding new material.
This is crucial. With over one billion
webpages fighting for attention, search engines
eliminate static webpages from their indexes.
You may have a wonderful site, but people need
to be able to locate it.
What else can I do to make
my site successful?
A few more tips, mostly involving money:
- Host your site with a reputable company, that
will function reliably.
- Make sure to register for a domain name that
accurately reflects the name of your business.
And then use it everywhere you can: on business
cards, brochures, stationery, etc.
- Do not succumb to the temptation to plaster
your site with advertisements.
I surf the Internet none of the sites look so
Your computer may not be configured to take best
advantage of the Internet's offerings. For more
information, please read an article
I wrote about upgrading browsers and configuring
I hope you are forming a better idea of what you need.
Next, the Site
Planner will help you prepare for the initial consultation.
You may also contact me for further
clarifications and a free estimate.