Planning Your Website: Getting it Right From the Start (by Anna Doo)


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Answering the question of whether you need an online presence for your business and how to go about creating one. Hire a professional, do it yourself - guidance for both! Then check out for a step-by-step video course on how to make a website and do some social media strategy.

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  • According to data gathered by Mashable, Inc between 1995 and June 2011, the number of registered domains went from 15,000 to 350,000,000Statistics from aNeilsen Global Consumer Report survey conducted in June 2010 show that 50% of North Americans that responded frequently purchase from online-only storesWebsite stat from Hitwise US
  • So, if 74% of Americans are online – what are they doing?Stats by Verisign Inc. comThis means people are searching and interacting. Searching for whatever it is they went to Google to find. That could be you! Your business, your product, your niche.And if you do not have an online presence – you may never be found.Just think about the future too. In August 2010, Americans spent 5 hours and 46 minutes on Facebook. So in ONE year, the amount of time the average American spends on social networking grew by 3 hours. During the month of August 2011, US Internet users spent an average of 30 hours online, visited 99 domains, viewed 3,123 web pages. This shows that users are going online to search, find and be captured for a minute or a few.
  • How often do you go straight to the Internet for an answer? I look up movie times, restaurant reviews, product comparisons, questions I don’t know the answers to off the top of my head, recipes, etc. The list goes on. So if I’m an “average American” who is “connected” then I’m your market and my habits can be indicative of other average users.
  • Because even if your product is not tangible to an online market, the traffic a website drives to your doorstep is invaluable. Remember how we find things these days – we Google it.
  • There are SEO/SEM experts who are able to optimize your website so when a search engine crawls the web it finds your site and offers it as an answer to the search query. This takes skill, patience, sometimes money if you want to purchase ads or page ranking, and is oftentimes a guessing game. Every search engine is constantly changing its algorithm so coders cannot hack the results. This keeps everything on a more level playing field. However, you can purchase pay per click services such as Google AdWords, get other sites to link to yours, submit your site to niche directories, etc.The best practice, and the least expensive, is to create a website with clean code, lots of valid text using keywords throughout the site, and solid writing with a high level of usability.
  • CMS - A web content management system (web CMS) is a bundled or stand-alone application used to create, manage, store, and deploy content on Web pages. Web content includes text and embedded graphics, photos, video, audio, and code (e.g., for applications) that renders other content or interacts with the user. A web CMS may also catalog or index content, select or assemble content at runtime, or deliver content to specific visitors in a personalized way, such as in different languages
  • Every website should have a number of basic items visible to the customerEven if you don’t plan to host an eCommerce website, the information contained on the site can lead clients to you. Put up an online gallery of photographs sold in your brick and mortar store with information on how people can physically find the shop to purchase prints. If you are a personal assistant, you can put information on the site about services you offer and if you are available for more clients. Even a tangible product can either be sold online or showcased there to drive more foot traffic to a store front.
  • Standard websites have a Home page, Contact page, and About page at a minimumDo you want users to purchase an item, call you, email you, sign up for a newsletter, join the cause, donate money? This will help determine the drive for the website, the purpose of having an online presence. Let’s say you are building a online gallery to showcase your artwork. You probably want people to click through your art, spending scads of time pouring over each piece and appreciating the talent and skill it takes to make something so wonderful. But what you really want is for them to call and commission a piece. Or purchase one from the site itself. This is a very important step and needs to be done before you ever begin designing a site or hiring a professional. But, a good website designer can help you determine what it is you want your site to do. So if you need help honing in on the reason to have a site – hire a professional.Do some market research and see what other websites are already out there within your genre. There are thousands of gallery websites, thousands of eCommerce websites and likely ones in your niche already up and running.When doing that research, you are thinking like your customers might. What search terms are you using? Are you very specific (native american pottery new mexico) or general (pottery)? Determining how a user thinks will help with SEO. By being able to include within the text of your site terms that people would search for you by, you increase your chances of being found by the search engines. Researching the web for like-sites will only help in the long run. You’ll be able to determine how to stand apart from sites within your market, but also be able to stay within the boundaries of what a user looking for your site would search for to find you.
  • Planning Your Website: Getting it Right From the Start (by Anna Doo)

    1. 1. A N S W E R I N G T H E Q U E S T I O N O F W H E T H E R Y O U N E E D A N O N L I N E P R E S E N C E A N D H O W T O G O A B O U T C R E A T I N G O N E . Planning Your Website Getting it Right From the Start © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    2. 2. Internet background  As of Nov. 2013, there are approximately 215 million domains  In 1985 there were approximately…12  74% of the American population uses the Internet according to a Nielsen poll  Half of North Americans surveyed said they purchased from online-only stores  Of those, many made purchases based on other customer’s feedback  In the first three quarters of 2013 Americans spent approximately $194 billion online (  The top websites saw more than 2.2 billion visitors the week ending Nov 23, 2013! (Hitwise US) © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    3. 3. Background cont.  83% of U.S. Small Businesses with an online presence would recommend creating a website to the other businesses in their industry  65% of U.S. Small Businesses created a company website because it makes them look more credible  72% of globally polled small businesses use a company website as their primary online presence with social media platforms as secondary  So what does all this mean?  It means consumers are SEARCHING online  It means consumers are INTERACTING and PURCHASING online © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    4. 4. What does this mean for you?  Average Americans (with access) are increasingly using the Internet to find products  Informal polls reveal connected Americans go online for answers before any other media (ie printed phone book, dictionary, encyclopedia)  Ever heard anyone say “just look it up” and find out they are referring to entering it into a search engine as opposed to walking to a bookshelf? © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    5. 5. So, do you need a website?  The simple, resounding answer is YES  Why? So your business/product/service can be found quickly by the average consumer, both in America and abroad.  What if you don’t have a product that can be sold online?  Still, the answer is YES © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    6. 6. Searching - finding  How does your website pop up in the search results when someone looks for the product you offer?  High quality website created from the start  Search Engine Marketing/Search Engine Optimization both organic and premium  Paid advertising  Broad Internet footprint © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    7. 7. Options for do-it-yourself  WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get  CMS – Content Management Systems  &  or  &  From scratch hand-coded website  Pros: Fully customized website – your vision and the web designer/developer’s expertise; Responsive from the start  Cons: More challenging to update – typically keep the designer on retainer for even minor changes; must learn new language(s) to create/maintain © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    8. 8. Must have to build site  Domain name and Hosting service       Email Marketing Auto-responder services    © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    9. 9. Elements for every website  What should every website have?  Company name  Contact information (email, telephone, brick and mortar location)  Email marketing sign up (also called an opt-in)  What you are selling  A tangible product  A service, your time or expertise  Portfolio © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    10. 10. Preparation for a site  In order to prepare to create an online presence, whether hiring a website designer/developer or doing it yourself, gather some elements together.  Identify how many pages your site should be  Determine what you want the website to do  Identify what market your page falls into and see what’s already out there in terms of websites  Put yourself in a client’s shoes  Brainstorm what search terms they might use to find you (can be somewhat obscure)  Find out where else they are online (blogs or forums they frequent, another genre of websites similar to yours, niche social media groups) © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    11. 11. Hiring a Professional  There are all kinds of inexpensive options for do-it- yourself template websites these days.  If you are comfortable with your site looking standard, OR feel you have the TIME to create a site yourself based on an existing template then by all means do it.  Another option is to hire a professional website designer or developer. This frees up your time so you can spend it doing what you do best. © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    12. 12. Questions to ask a Potential Designer  Ask for a link to their website – see what they’ve done, see if their style is a good fit for you  Ask about availability – can they create your site now or is the next available window of time months out  Ask for a general price quote (but know this is general and the details of your particular site will drive the actual cost)  If you need face-to-face interaction, ask if they are local and willing to meet to discuss the project  Ask what they are capable of – some designers have a huge toolbox of tricks and code snippets, others are specialized in certain types of sites and may not do what you need  Ask if they draw, write, photograph, do video or audio etc. Whatever elements you think you need for your site that you know you can’t do – ask. © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    13. 13. When Hiring…  Preparation is key to saving you time and money when hiring a professional! The more you have ready, the less time the process takes.  You need at a minimum:  To know how many pages you want  What you want the site to do  Gather all text for the site  Gather all images for the site  Contact information for the site  A few urls of other websites that you like (whether it’s the look of the site you like, the navigation, the way the content is presented)  And a few you dislike © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    14. 14. What to Expect  What to expect during an initial consultation with the web designer:  Discuss what you want the site to do  Discuss what you want the site to convey about the company (this helps identify color schemes, themes for the site, etc)  Determine how many pages the site will be  Determine how much material you will need to supply, and what you need created for you (do you need a logo, photographs of the products, graphics created for the site, etc)  Discuss time lines for the project  Discuss long term © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    15. 15. Follow Up  The next step is the contract which spells out all the particulars and then going forward with the design!  Make sure you are an active participant (gathering information you agreed to supply, responding to emails or phone calls from the designer, following up after you receive a review with detailed feedback of changes or corrections)  Start the best marketing tool out there – word of mouth! Start telling everyone you know your website is in the works and will be up and running soon. © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    16. 16. Options for Do-It-Yourself  Learn How to DIY   CMS – Content Management Systems     or  Hosting services    © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    17. 17. Conclusion  The Internet is constantly shaping the way those who are connected look for information. Increasingly, the search is begun online.  Stay at the forefront of the minds of potential customers by giving them what they are looking for – an online presence to showcase your business. © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.
    18. 18. Questions * Comments Presented by Anna Doo Lei Lani Design Studio, LLC © 2014 Anna Doo, Lei Lani Design Studio All rights reserved.