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Contact: Peter Newman
Location: Lasalle, Ontario, Canada
pnewman@canbrit-webdesigns.com
phone: (519) 970 9272



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Website Guide
How can a Website benefit my Business? How Much Does a Website Cost?
How to Establish Goals for my Website? What Information should I put on my Website?
How to Develop a Website Copy. Organizing Website Structure and Navigation.
Approving my Web Design. Website Accessibility and Usability.
Using Interactive Features to Captivate Visitors. How to Choose a Domain Name.
Selecting a Web Hosting Service. Generating Traffic to my Website.
Website Visitor Analytics. Website Updates and Content Management Systems.

Website Guide

This Website Guide is a tool to help prospective customers understand the process of Website Design and Development.
Please feel free to comment on any of its content as we welcome suggestions to constantly improve and improve the information provided here. mail@canbrit-webdesigns.com


How can a Website benefit my Business?

It is an understatement to say the internet has changed the way we live our lives. In fact, the internet influences our lifestyle so much that it is hard to imagine how we ever lived without it.

The internet has revolutionized the way we do just about anything: communicate, learn, shop, do business, etc. So much so that it has made many of the traditional processes and procedures completely obsolete. That's not to say that a physical store front doesn't have a purpose. However, the power of an online presence, in the form of a website, has a far reaching capability.

So how can you benefit from a Website? The possibilities are endless, but most of all, a website allows you to connect, inform and serve your customers 24/7.

Traditionally, marketing and advertising your business requires time and effort for things like cold calling, mailings, fliers, advertising campaign etc. Although these methods can be effective for certain businesses, you find yourself limited to a certain geographic area or your budget to penetrate other areas.

Today, more and more people use the internet to investigate and purchase almost everything you can think of... A well-designed website allows you advertise to people across the globe and thereby take your business to the next level.

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How Much Does a Website Cost?

A website has so much potential to benefit your business. It is almost imperative for a business owner to have a website.

If you are in a position to invest in a website, you can spend as much or as little as you want. Although this sounds a little vague, the sky is the limit when it comes to websites.

Web Designers, Graphic Designers and Copywriters are just a few of the professionals that are involved in the development of a website. These professions do not come cheap, so you can see how the price of a website can grow at an alarming rate.

However the payoff is that you'll get a beautiful website that represents your company, communicates effectively with your customers, provides information and value, and makes it easy for your customers to get what they need. The real benefit is that it will attract new customers, that might not have otherwise found your company.

A website can cost next to nothing or it can cost a small fortune, depending on how little or how much you want included in your website. But be assured that for a small investment of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, you can get an impressive, unique website that you and your customers will love.

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How to Establish Goals for my Website?

Before initiating the design and function of your site, it is important to decide how you would like your site to impact your business. Setting goals for your website will establish a starting point for design, content and layout.

Obviously one of the first priorities is to attract new customers and increase your revenues/profits. But in order to design a website that delivers the results you want, you need to consider your goals as a result of having a website.

Your website designer can advise you what features to add that will help you achieve your goal. Typically income goals are a factor of how many people visit your website and how many of those will be paying customers. Working with an experienced web developer will help you create a website that successfully turns visitors into paying customers.

Client Service is also a key factor in determining success of a website. If you provide a positive experience for your customers, they are more likely to return for future purchases. Your website should serve both you and your customers that make the experience both positive and pleasant.

Your website should also reflect your company image. Before starting the design process, you need to communicate to your designer what you would like that image to be. For many customers, your website will provide first impressions of your company. Good graphic design and page layout can reflect whatever image you desire.

Last but not least, how independently do you want your website to function? Do you want your customers to set up appointments or arrange services from your site? Can they order products or services from your site? These are all factors to consider when developing goals for your website.

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What Information should I put on my Website?

The main purpose of a website is to inform your customers about your company and services in such a way that it influences readers to become paying customers. With that in mind, your website should include information to allow your visitors to make an informed decision, without overwhelming them with too much information.

First and foremost, your website should include information about who you are and what you do. Typically, visitors will not hunt around for this information, so if it is not clearly displayed on the first page, they will very quickly navigate away from your site.

Educate your visitors about your business and how your company can help them find what they are looking for.

Don't forget to have more detailed information about your company and products or services available if your visitor wants to know more. Most importantly, make sure all your contact information is readily available.

Consider including articles, blogs or other resources that reinforces your authority within your business or industry which will encourage your customers to return to learn new things and hopefully, make further purchases.

Remember the 5 key marketing elements - Who?, What?, Where?, Why? and How?

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How to Develop a Website Copy.

When developing a website, it's easy to focus on the layout and the look and feel of the site. Visuals are important, but if the copy is not useful and engaging, all of your efforts will be wasted.

Your website designer will help you with the structure of your website copy, however, you are the best person to provide the content and required information about your company and products or services.

While constructing your company information, consider any "Keywords" and "Phrases" that can be used in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so that your site will rank higher in search engine listings.

Lastly, your website copy should be persuasive. Include what makes your company or products unique, why should customers make their purchases through your website and reinforce that their experience will be a positive one.

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Organizing Website Structure and Navigation.

One of the key steps in the development of a website is its structure and ease of navigation. This should be addressed early on in the process, so that your site is easy to use, information is readily available and the content of your website sends a distinctive message to your visitors.

Once you've streamlined the necessary information and considered everything that is relevant and interesting to your targeted audience, your website designer will structure the information into manageable segments that make each one easy to find.

Ideally, you should have a navigation bar that appears the same way and in the same position on each page. This main bar allows visitors to easily click through your website, without having to backtrack or retrace their steps. The main bar should include the standards information like contact and biographical information. It should also include tabs that direct visitors to the main categories that you allocated previously.

A secondary navigation bar should include labels, menus or other methods of directing customers to the secondary information or sub-categories that your organized previously.

In the back of your mind, make sure your navigation around your website is relevant to your audience and easy to use. A well-structured website is sure to impress your visitors and potential customers.

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Approving my Web Design

Along with your Web Copy and the information about what you would like included in your website, your website designer will pull all the elements together to develop a website for your business. They will consider logos, graphics, photos, illustrations, text type and size, navigation tools and many other items that are needed.

Probably the most important elements are the colors, aesthetic appearance and design of your website. These are critical, as the appearance must be representative of your company image.

Typically your website designer will prepare a number of drafts that will be presented for your approval. An experience designer will construct the draft so that minor changes can be easily accommodated.

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Website Accessibility and Usability

Accessibility typically refers to your site's ability to operate well and to ensure that your site is universally accessible to all customers. For example, images often include tags that render them invisible for visitors that run the internet with those tags turned off. JavaScript, can present challenges, as most people using the internet have JavaScript turned off. Consequently, when they visit your site, much of the site is not fully functional.

Audio files and Flash Player are other programs that could be a problem for a good majority of your visitors. Obviously, people who are hearing impaired would not be able to enjoy audio files. Flash Player often has to be downloaded and installed before visitors can fully access your site. So unless these features are completely necessary, it is recommended you stay away from programs that restrict accessibility.

More and more smart cell phones are accessing the internet. So to be fully accessible, your website should be fully functional even to someone viewing your site using a mobile device.

Usability correlates directly to your websites conversion rates. If you have low rates of converting visitors into actual paying customers, you probably have some usability issues that need to be addressed.

Website Accessibility and Usability ensures that your business website is working for you and your customers. Visitors should be able to easily access your site, all of its functions and quickly find the information they are looking for.

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Using Interactive Features to Captivate Visitors.

A successfully designed website will attract visitors. However, you don't want those visitors to briefly land on your home page, only to quickly navigate away. Preferably you want them to stay a while and better yet stay long enough to make a purchase. Hopefully their experience is a positive one that they feel inclined to keep coming back.

There are many ways to do this. First, your site should be easy to use. From a design perspective, fancy graphics, images and other visual stimulation are more likely to interest visitors than simple text.

However, it has been proven that sites that respond to viewers using interactive features will hold a viewers attention and keep them coming back for more.

At this stage of the website development, there are literally thousands of options for interactive features available. Some are fairly simple, while others are quite sophisticated. For example, one interactive feature might be an image or slide show that changes when the viewer clicks on it. It's relatively simple, but does give your site visual interest.

You might want to consider a site search engine that allows your visitors to easily find information or product offered on your site.

Having your visitors sign a guest book, or sign up for your newsletter, provides some interactivity and gives them something to look forward to. Offering coupons, or incentives again encourages your visitors to interact with your website and hopefully make a purchase. Surveys are another way to get your visitors to stay longer and learn more about your company or your products or services.

Social Media is a great way to promote you company. By publishing blogs or posting a message on a message board, you will give your visitors the opportunity to engage other visitors and stay tuned into your site.

In general, you should constantly look to update your website. This again encourages your customers to return to your site to see new and fresh content on a regular basis.

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How to Choose a Domain Name.

Choosing a Domain name is an important part of establishing your website. Above all, you want your domain name to be compatible with your business, industry and company name and easy for customers to remember.

First of all, get a domain name that matches your website name or vice versa.

The best names are those that a customer can literally guess what it is. For example, an ideal domain name for a company West Essex Saddles would be www.westessexsaddles.com If you are the owner of West Essex Saddles and your domain name is www.saddlesforyou.com, your domain name is working against you. More than likely, customers will search westessexsaddles and land on another site. Obviously, you do not want your customers to land on competitor sites.

What if a domain name that matches your company and website name is not available? You do have a few options - first of all, you can rename your website and business based on your domain name that is available. Certainly this is the most affordable route to go. However, if you have already invested money in establishing your brand name, you can offer to buy the ideal domain name from the owner. It may come at a cost, but it would be worth it and it'll save you a lot of headache in the future. Another alternative would be to add dashes, extra words or even plural versions of your requested name.

Another option would be to look for alternative suffixes to .com, i.e. .net .ca .org .biz .info .co.uk

Whenever possible, keep your domain name short. It's possible to have a domain name that is 67 characters long, but it is far more practical to keep it short and something that is easy to remember.

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Selecting a Web Hosting Service.

Selecting an appropriate web hosting service is an important part of establishing your website. Depending on your goals and the purpose of your website, you might not be satisfied with just any web hosting service. Not to mention, selecting the wrong web hosting service for your site can cause problems for you and your visitors.

What does a web hosting service do and how do you know which one is right for you? A web hosting service is a company that stores your website and information and has the proper technology and equipment to provide that information to internet users.

There are low cost options, plus full-service options. Typically the low cost options offer you a basic package that gets you started, but anything you need over and above this basic package is going to cost you more. Whereas the full-service options include most of the bells and whistles you would ever need as your website grows. The key thing with the full-service package, is the guaranteed up-time and 24/7 technical support. Plus you will have no restrictions on design, functionality, size and traffic to your site.

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Generating Traffic to Your Website

Now that you have a website, you want to make sure that people see it and start visiting it as soon as possible. In the early days of website development, the process of attracting visitors was very much hit or miss. However, today the process has a scientific approach, where there are many things you can do to drive traffic to your website.

Search Engine Optimization - Structure of your website makes it easy for the search engines like Google and Yahoo to "spider" your site and prioritize it in the rankings. Along with Key Words and Key Phrases can have significant effect on your ranking. Typically the higher up you are in the Search Engine ranking, the more traffic will be directed to your site.

Pay per Click Advertising (PPC) - PPC allows you to advertise your website on other sites on the web, however, you only pay for those ads when someone actually clicks on them and visits your site. The provider places ads on appropriate and related sites and you even have the option to establish daily "click" limits to control your budget.

Participate in Forums - Online forums are places where consumers, experts and other interested parties go to discuss, ask questions and give answers about almost every industry, product and topic on the planet. Participation in forums related to your industry will give consumers knowledge about your business and an awareness about your company. Remember to give a link to your website in your signature.

Issue Press Releases - Press releases are a great way to generate interest and traffic to your website. They are often available on the web for a long time and will always include links to your site. However it is important to only issue press releases when there is something truly noteworthy happening in your business. Take every quality opportunity to issue a press release about new products, services or advancements in your industry.

Start a Company Blog - If you start a company blog on your site about the services and industry that is useful and up-to-date, people will find it helpful and will issue links to your blog in other sources. If you have a blog that is not directly linked to your web page, then you should occasionally make appropriate references to your website and include a link.

Advertise offline - Even though just about every element of our lives is conducted over the internet, it's still a good idea to do some offline advertising for your website. Include your website address on your stationary, business cards and all print material and perhaps even look into advertising your business and website in local papers, magazines and other advertising media.

There are many different ways to generate traffic to your website. With just a little bit of effort and attention, you can start seeing visitors to your website as soon as it goes live.

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Website Visitor Analytics

Website Visitor Analytics are a very important element of your website's success.

There are many companies on the web that provide free programs that track visitors to your site. They typically provide detailed reports on number of visitors, whether they were unique or returning, how long they stayed and even which page within your site, they visited.

More complex programs even track which items your visitors looked at and/or purchased and where the visitors are located. All this information can help you determine which products have an interest to your visitors so that you can adjust your inventory to meet the demand. Similarly, you can generate an analysis on which advertising campaigns work and which ones were unsuccessful.

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Website Updates and Content Management Systems

It is important to keep you website updated and current.

You can either have your web developer make these updates or you can implement a Content Management System that allows you to access your website through a dashboard.

A Content Management Dashboard includes windows into every area of your site so that you can fully access and alter any changes that you wish. You do not need to know website language, otherwise known as HTML, to make changes and you can easily make any updates necessary to continue to improve your website.

Content Management is a service or program that you would need to purchase for your website. There are many different systems available. Many of them will even optimize your pages for the search engines automatically.

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