Growing Your Business With A Website: WIBO
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Growing Your Business With A Website: WIBO

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This is a presentation used for newbie entrepreneurs who are looking to get a website started to help promote their business. Developed for WIBO Jan 2011

This is a presentation used for newbie entrepreneurs who are looking to get a website started to help promote their business. Developed for WIBO Jan 2011

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Growing Your Business With A Website: WIBO Growing Your Business With A Website: WIBO Presentation Transcript

  • Presented by: Mardy Sitzer, Bumblebee Design & Marketing LLC Sponsored by: Growing Your Business With a Website
  • a good website can bring you more business and a bad one can drive away prospective customers
  • Disclaimer WE HAVE NO AFFILIATION OR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION WITH ANY OF THE SERVICES OR SITES MENTIONED IN THIS PRESENTATION. NO WARRANTY OF PERFORMANCE OR VALUE IS BEING SUGGESTED OR IMPLIED.
  • OWNERSHIP Domain Name: make sure that you specify in your contract that you are listed as the administrative contact for the domain record – verify with whois.net Make sure that all prospective vendors give you full, exclusive rights to your website in its entirety upon completion: Design, images, original, editable source files, source code, production files and content. Purchasing photography or other assets: copyright use: time limits? reuse limitations? Caution: be wary of companies or individuals that charge a fee if you move your website to another web host. Or, if they write unnecessary code and call it “proprietary” technology and charge you extra for the source. Most solutions have ‘open source’ (free) code available that is then modified to your needs – this is not proprietary.
  • Define Your Audience Existing Customers YOUR COMPETITOR’S Buyers Buyers Influencers Influencers Referrals Referrals Users Users New Target YOUR COMPETITOR’S Buyers Buyers Influencers Influencers Referrals Referrals Users Users
  • Websites Are Made of:
  • Who Do You Hire? Web Designer: page layout, graphics, text location and colors of your site, as well as the navigation and how pages will cross-link to one another. Many times encompasses the role of project manager, developer, etc... Programmer : takes the design and uses various code languages to write the "behind-the-scenes" website code responsible for the site's architecture and interactive functions Graphic Artist : designs the graphics for the site, including page layout, colors, etc. - the "visual artist" for your site. Copywriter : writer versed in techniques for online readability, SEO and target audience. Internet Marketing Consultant: helps you to determine how your website fits into your overall marketing strategy, and how to get more traffic and sales from your website.
  • Your Website Should Have Multiple Job Descriptions
  • Setting Goals
    • Increase traffic to the site
    • Improve SERP (search engine rank position)
    • Support and enhance corporate image
    • Increase leads
    • Increase sales
    • Resolve/open support issues
    • Engagement (customers / prospects)
    • Reduce labor costs:
      • customer service
      • AR
      • HR
      • service reps
      • sales reps
      • telephone operators
      • other
    • One measurable item per goal.
    • Where are you today
    • How will you measure
    • What is the target goal
    • What is the time to accomplish
  • Create Your Website To Support Your Goals
  • Start Planning (even before you buy or hire)
    • Having a clearly defined scope of work will help to reduce the variances among bidders.
    • TIP: Be clear in your goals for the website and outline and differentiate features as ABSOLUTE NECESSITY and WOULD BE NICE.
  • Imagine:
  • Research
    • Your competitors are: (provide websites)
    • Professional association sites relevant to your industry are:
    • Who are your customers? Who are your suspects? Who are your prospects? What are their triggers?
    • Keywords: what are your keywords – including long-tail and how are your competitors doing with these keywords? (Freekeywords.wordtracker.com, Google Analytics, Google Keyword Suggestion tool)
  • Inventory
    • Your identity = your story: Who are you? How are you defined by your customers? What is it you want your company to be known for? Your brand promise is…..
    • Asset Inventory: what art, images and other media do you already own? What print material / branding pieces – stationery, business cards, etc. exist and will they change to meet the new branding of the site or should the site maintain any branding features that already exist?
    • What documents, white papers, data, press, testimonials do you have that can/will be incorporated into the new site?
    • What do you have in mind for the design concept/features/functions of the site? What do you like? (collect websites and note feature you like: tip – use iCyte to collect and collaborate)
  • IA = Information Architecture Definition: a structural design of shared environments, methods of organizing and labeling websites and ways of bringing the principles of design and architecture to the internet. > website structure, features and content Sitemap and Wireframe bring the following key benefits: * early, close-up view of the site design (or re-design). * inspire the designer, resulting in a more fluid creative process. * gives the developer a clear picture of the elements that they will need to code. * makes the call to action on each page clear. * easy to adapt and can show the layout of many sections of the website.
  • Plan = Site Map
    • Tools You Can Use to Draw a Site Map
    • pencil and paper
    • Photoshop, Paint or another graphics program
    • Freemind
    • Flowchart.com
    • WriteMaps.com
    How Does Your Site Map Meet Your Stated Goals? Does/Should Your Site Map reflect Your Real World? (structure, geo..) Does Your Site Map support your User’s Goals? They ask/You answer. SILO Map = Keywords
  • Now Is A Good Time You should be ready to put together a scope of work that you can use to go out to bid. Bidding for Budgets Be fair and stress ‘for budget’ (if that is what you are doing). Be open and request suggestions. The scope of work will ‘evolve’ as you engage professionals.
  • BUDGET: What impacts costs: Design by committee: adds time = $ the more layers in your company the more time it takes Form / Function: the more features = $ programming time Needs: copywriter, photographer, illustrator, designer, programmer, marketer Changes: the later in the process, the more complex the change TIP: clarify what is an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY vs. WOULD BE NICE
  • Options:
    • Free sites from web hosting or service companies
    • Do it yourself with templates free and for fee
    • Freelancers
    • Off shore outsource
    • Boutique studios
    • Large agency
  • How To Find A Web Designer
  • Narrow the Search
    • Ask your circle of friends and colleagues
    • Ask on professional association sites, Linkedin etc.
    • Look at the bottom of many sites – usually a link to the design company
    • Contact ‘webmaster’ at sites you like and ask
    • Post your need on: guru.com, craigslist.org, twitter, etc.
    • Contact local colleges, universities, etc. = would they be interested in a case study or work for credit project?
  • Qualifiers
    • Experience
    • Skill sets
    • Process
    • Limitations/Restrictions
    • Back up plans
    • ‘ They get it’ factor
  • Level The Playing Field After the first round of inquiries, assimilate what you have gotten into one document – add and clarify scope then resubmit for next round. INTERVIEW RIGOURSLY
  • ASK:
    • What does their standard contract look like?
    • What is their fee schedule?
    • How do they price a project? (by page, by hour, by feature, etc.)
    • How many design rounds before extra charges are incurred?
    • How do they manage a project?
    • How do they address scope creep?
    • Change order process?
    • Are there Kill Fees? And what do you get for your fee?
    • What is included in their work? Not included?
    • What is included in their price and what is extra?
    • What are they doing in-house vs. outsourcing?
    • How do they communicate/collaborate internally and externally?
    • How is work submitted for review?
    • References (and actually call them)
  • AVOIDING CRISIS Murphy’s Law: If anything can go wrong… it will.
    • When working with an independent or freelancer or smaller firm request:
      • a backup contact who has access to their computers and files in case of an emergency
      • a weekly (or more frequent) backup to a virtual drive or site where you have access to retrieve the files (box.net, mediafire.com, 4shared.com, hosting site – using ftp
    • When working with an independent, freelancer, small or large firm request:
      • clarity about the ‘kill fee’ and what it entitles you to – will you have to start over from scratch or will you have the right to the initial development work and art work
      • if they are the professionals then ask “WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO BE AWARE OF THAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR SCOPE OF WORK THAT WILL EFFECT THIS PROJECT?”
    Please put all of this in writing.
  • Free / Cheap FREE or CHEAP = Hosted Services What this means: your art / data / etc. happens on another company’s server you do not own your site the site can not be moved or transferred Example: free website with hosting contract. The templates belong to the hosting company and are not transferrable if you move your site.
  • … Cheap Templates: GREAT way to get professional looking website at budget pricing. Search Website Templates TIP: Look for PSD files and CSS files to be included
  • … Cheap Hosted Service Providers: GREAT way to get professional services such as ecommerce without the need for a programmer and deploy faster. TIPS: Paypal can serve as a merchant gateway. If you don’t need a store front, check out e-junkie.com Uses foxycart.com
  • Back to Planning
    • Revisit and Finalize Sitemap
    • Begin Wireframing
    • Create inventory:
      • by page
      • by deliverable
      • by responsibility
      • by due date
    • Reassess budget – did anything change?
  • Storyboard or Map Functions Diagram: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/tamingscope Think about the experience and the process
  • Plan = Wireframe Home Page > Top Tier > Second Tier > Unique Pages
    • Tools You Can Use to Draw Wireframes
    • pencil and paper
    • PowerPoint/Keynote
    • Visio
    • OmniGraffle Pro
    • Pencil (firefox plugin)
    • SmartDraw
    • MockupScreens
    • Balsamiq Mockups
    • iPlotz
    How Does Each Page Meet Your Stated Goals? How Does Each Page Support your User’s Goals? They ask/You answer. Keywords Inventory: images, content, media Actions? = Developers
  • Every Page Is Important Keywords: words and long tail Page Name: url – naming – user words not numbers / - ok _ avoid Meta Tags: enable search engines to determine what key words are relevant Title: Description: Keywords: Alt Image: To check: on any browser: View > Source code
  • Have SEO Migration Plan If redesigning an existing site you won’t want to lose what you have already gained
    • Page names/extensions changing:
    • A map of old to new URLs needs to be implemented along with a permanent (301) redirect.
    • Identifying the top sources of inbound link traffic to pages and conducting an outreach program to request change to new url. (search links:yourdomain.com)
    • Pages that cannot be mapped need to be dealt with using custom 404 error pages which should be user and search engine friendly.
    • After the site design and redirects have been implemented, it’s important to continue monitoring web analytics for broken links and 404 errors so they can be fixed.
  • Plan for Post Launch
    • Updates to site
    • Scalability
    • Maintenance
    • Marketing
    • Landing Page for Campaigns
    • Social / Engaging / Feedback
    • Monitoring / administration
  • Project Management Document and Information Management: Google docs / Basecamp / Google wave Site map, wireframe, inventory, task/assignments Status updates / milestones Punch List
  • AVOID: Splash / Flash intro page Animated graphic over use, scrolling banner text, gimmicks Large – slow loading graphics Overuse of java scripting Not being accessible: phone/email should be everywhere Frames Different backgrounds on pages (unless defining sections) Pop ups Non- text navigation Multiple fonts Cramming and crowding In your face advertising Bad grammar JARGON Bad or boring or unrelated graphics Torture – usability considerations
  • Some Best Practices:
  • TAGGING:
    • Title: this is website name that shows up in the search engine results so use keywords and a clear statement of who you are.
    • Meta Description: this is the description of the site that shows up in the search engine results so use keywords and a clear statement of who you are.
    • EX: <title> Famous Johns, The Toilet Bowl King <description> Wide range of Toilet bowls in stock to choose from we flush the shipping charges!
    • Meta keywords. Search engines don’t pay much attention to this tagging, some SEO experts say yes, others say no.
    • ALL images should have alt tags – if the image doesn’t come up the description of image appears and search engines can read the tags so use keywords.
  • TAGGING: Title Description Places
  • CHECK IT OUT
  • Don’t Forget
    • Analytics: free from Google and most web hosts
    • Breadcrumb navigation
    • Footer / physical address + hcard / google map / phone & email
    • Set up Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local & submit
    • Insert a Google map on your contact page (see blog post: 20 Things That Google Likes)
    • Real time search / video / mobile / RSS feeds / blog posts
    • These are some SEO Best Practices
  • TESTING Verify site with validator.w3.org/ if the site passes for CSS and HTML there will be the ability to put a ‘badge’ on your site Browser compatibility: try browsershots.org to see how your site is seen on other browsers. Select top 5-6 browsers (mac / pc) test navigation, all forms and function. Use Google webmaster tools to check for broken links and verify xml site map was submitted and approved. Final spell check: orangoo.com, jspell.com, spellr.us, texttrust.com Verify all images have alt tag - use keywords (not logo.gif ) Coding: on any browser select View > Source code Verify that the coding looks neat and organized (lame but worth it) and that the meta tags are in place and unique.
  • MARKETING YOUR SITE Send email announcement to a select group of friends/advisors to get feedback, test, etc. Make any final adjustments or corrections. Send Press Release, emails, etc. and announce the new site where ever you can and show off any new features and benefits. Business cards, brochures, postcards, envelopes, etc. have web address. Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Listings: dmoz, googleplaces, associations, membership sites, gowala, foursquare, digg, stumbleupon, etc.
  • Presented by: Mardy Sitzer Bumblebee Design & Marketing LLC 212-677-4050 Visit our website at bumblebeellc.com and register for our Weekly Blog: Notes from the Hive And our Monthly Newsletter Jump in on Twitter: twitter.com/MardySitzer Join us on Facebook: facebook.com/BumblebeeLLC Chat on: skype:MardySitzer Connect on Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/MardySitzer