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Successful Website Design


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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know about Participating in the Process, Working with a Designer and Producing a Site that Works for Your Business

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Successful Website Design

  1. 1. Small Business Website Design What Every Business Owner Needs to Know about Participating in the Process, Working with a Designer and Producing a Site that Works for Your Business
  2. 2. What we’ll cover  Planning the site structure & content  Types of sites  Budget  Domain names  Hosting  Finding a designer/developer  Contracts  Design & development process  Pre-launch check  Maintenance/ updates  Marketing
  3. 3. Planning  The more you have planned ahead of time, the better!  Things you should know:  Your business model  Who are your customers or Audience?  What do you want your customers to do? • Call to action  How will this site solve your customers’ problem?
  4. 4. Who is your Audience?
  5. 5. Site Types  Brochure - Set it and Forget it, (but don’t)  Basic static pages, simple form  Informational - Regularly Updated  Needs a database and/or blogging capability  E-commerce (Can be used for services, too)  Requires shopping cart (customer, order and product information storage and retrieval)
  6. 6. Planning  Things you should have an idea about:  Branding • visual interface to ‘set tone/expectations’, based on your audience and corporate culture • Logo, Colors, Look and Feel • Focus on good design, not clutter  Content (Message or ‘Pitch’) • Written copy (Optimized for Search Engines Humans with keywords) • Product photos or other images • Video or Audio
  7. 7. Planning  Functionality  Forms (registration, mailing list, contact us)  Shopping cart or way for customers to pay you  Content Management System (CMS)  Information feeds like news or MLS
  8. 8. Planning  Structure  Flow chart (your developer can/should assist with this) • How many pages or ‘screens’ • What links to what • How pages are categorized (Do you sort by color or style?)
  9. 9. MORE Planning!  Examples  Competition  What you love (functionality, color, style, etc.)  What you hate  What you NEED now, what would be nice later  Sites can be built in stages, as long as it’s planned for  Questionnaire is a good place to start  Whew! Now that all the planning is done….
  10. 10. How Much Will This Cost?  How much do you project making?  10-20% of what you will make in the first year is a good baseline  How much can you do yourself?  Writing, photography etc.  What is your time worth?  It Depends….  Website is an ongoing investment  “Average” small business should expect low to mid 4 figures.
  11. 11. How Much Will This Cost?  What type of site do you need?  Blog (minimal design capability) = Free (remember your time…)  Brochure = $2500-$4500 (Estimated labor 20 to 60 hours)  Infomational or E-Commerce = $4500- $8500++  Maintenance and marketing are key to success and not included in these estimates!
  12. 12. Domains & Hosting  Domain - $10+ year  Your site address:  Leased not owned! If you fail to stay current on payment, you will LOSE the rights to lease the domain.  Hosting - $120+ year  The server where your actual files live  Hosting packages normally include a limited # of email addresses that can be setup  YOU MUST PAY YOUR OWN BILL & KEEP TRACK OF THE LOGIN INFORMATION!  Use the spreadsheet
  13. 13. Finding a Designer/Developer  Not all designers know how to code, not all developers know how to design  $Designer/developer, small company, freelance, home office  $$-$$$Advertising/Design firm • Designer, developer, writer, photographer, ad placement, fancy office  Ask your friends & family  (If you have a friend actually do the site, do you care about deadlines and quality? Professionals are much more accountable.)  Who developed the sites in your industry that you admire?  Look for functionality, not ‘Flash Bang’  LinkedIn, Google
  14. 14. Finding a Designer/Developer  Do they have the skill set you need?  Don’t be shy about asking questions • Be cautious about FLASH  Have they made sites that work the way you want yours to work?  ALWAYS –  Check the designers’ site (broken links or ‘coming soon’ pages are a RED FLAG)  Check their clients’ sites and get references  Get more than one bid • (Compare by services offered, not just price. Lowest is often more expensive in long run)
  15. 15. The Proposal & Contract  Don’t leave home without it  Protects the owner and designer  Defines the scope of work  Define WHO is responsible for WHAT • Who is providing content  Deadlines go both ways  Who “owns” what at the end • Content, artwork, code  Payment structure • Typically 33% or 50% up front  Is maintenance covered? • Negotiate!  Can you get out?
  16. 16. The Proposal & Contract  What can raise the cost  Revisions, additions, changes • Remember all that planning?  Scope Creep
  17. 17. The Process Yay! We’re finally creating something!  You’ve planned, now designer does discovery  Share all of your planning  Be prepared for more questions!  Wireframes  Structure first, to include all content and plan layout
  18. 18. The Process  Mock-ups  Picture of the home and possibly additional page  May have more than one choice • Now you can see which shade of purple works best  Now is the time to change your mind and revise!
  19. 19. The Process  Stay Flexible  Not everything that was planned for can happen exactly  Content and images are never exactly the same
  20. 20. The Process  Remember – Sites aren’t magazines  You don’t control how people see your site.  Keep the design flexible and user friendly  Talk about the site being “responsive” with your designer
  21. 21. The Process  Development  The coding that actually creates the site  Includes functionality that makes the site ‘go’ and can include Galleries, Slide Shows, Email forms, Shopping Carts, Blog installations . . . <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html xmlns=""> <head profile=""> <title>Designing Your Site, Things Every Business Owner Should Know</title> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" /> <meta name="generator" content="WordPress 2.9.2" /> <!-- leave this for stats please --> <link rel="stylesheet" href="" type="text/css" media="screen" /> <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS 2.0" href="" /> <link rel="alternate" type="text/xml" title="RSS .92" href="" /> <link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="Atom 0.3" href="" /> <link rel="pingback" href="" />
  22. 22. The Process  Each stage needs YOUR approval  Layout, design, development, launch  Delays in content delivery, approval and payment schedule all directly affect your deadline  Design changes or added functionality requests during development will be extra $$
  23. 23. Pre-launch Check  Use more than one tester  Preferably someone who has not seen the site before  Does every link work?  Do the forms work?  Does the shopping cart work?  Does it pass the Mom test?  Test in Major Browsers: Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera (both on PC and Mac) AND as many devices as you can find  Designer should do, but you should too!
  24. 24. Maintenance & Updates  You planned for this, right?  Monthly fee?  CMS training?  Publishing schedule for blog or events?  Updating products or inventory?  You’re NEVER done.  Relevant and current content wins in search
  25. 25. Marketing It’s a live site!! Now, how do you drive traffic to it?
  26. 26. Marketing  Social Media (easier for some business types than others) • Facebook fan page • Your LinkedIn Profile • Twitter • Use what works for you!  Email marketing • MailChimp • Constant Contact • AWeber • Active Campaign  Printed material • Your Email Address should be NOT gmail, and NOT aol. (Support your domain!)
  27. 27. Marketing  Nothing replaces real face to face networking!  Advertising • Adwords • pay-per-click • Print, radio • TV advertising  Part of the planning  Part of the budget
  28. 28. Contact Information  Becky Davis   773-809-5640  These slides and MORE!  schedule/