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Launching a new business website in 2012? Some tips before you start

Launching a new website can be a daunting task and many business owners struggle to manage the process successfully. It can be difficult to articulate your vision to your website developer and graphic designer and even the savviest of business people can find themselves overwhelmed by the technical jargon that they are faced with.

In addition to coming to terms with the technical side of developing a new website, business owners must also manage the process of defining their internet marketing strategy and developing the content for their website. Developing content is not the simple task it once was; websites are no longer a transcript of the company brochure. Internet marketing messages must come in a range of formats to fully engage with potential customers. Decisions must also be made on whether to include social media or a blog into the internet marketing mix.

As a result of all of this many business owners end up compromising on the vision they had for their company website and the functionality that they wanted from it. So what can you do to get the best website for your business?

1. Set goals
Decide what you want to achieve with the website? Is it an e-commerce site? Do you want potential clients to download a white paper, view a video or fill out a contact form? Once you set the goals of your website you can use them as reference points when making decisions on the functionality and structure of the website.

2. Prepare
Prepare an outline of the structure. How are you going to organise your website? By product? By service? By location? What pages do you need and how do they relate to one another? When you are doing this keep your most important products and services to the forefront – you want potential customers to find them easily.

3. Standard pages
Don’t forget that there are certain pages that you will need to include. These include an ABOUT US page, a CONTACT US page and a SITEMAP. You may also wish to include things like a PRESS page, TESTIMONIALS, TERMS OF BUSINESS, a GALLERY and a PRIVACY POLICY if you are using tracking software to monitor the success of the goals you have set for the website. Adding additional pages to the structure of the site once development has begun can add to the costs incurred and may compromise the functionality and flow of the site.

4. Research
Find examples of websites that you like, in terms of colour scheme, style, functionality and layout. They don’t necessarily need to be from your own industry but will give your graphic designer and web developer a good feel for what you are looking for.

EzSales have managed the building of many websites on behalf of our clients, working as an intermediary between the company and the website designer. The relationship is similar to that of an architect working with their clients and building contractor. We hope you can benefit from our experience. By preparing in advance and having a clear internet marketing strategy in place when you meet with your website designer you will get a lot more from your new website.

Sue Palmer, www.ezsales.ie

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