Advantage Internet Marketing, Toronto ON

Website Design Tips For Small Business

Before you can begin putting your new small company website together, you need to have the answers to several small questions. I recommend answering the following questions before you do anything else:

1. Do you need some type of shopping cart or item aggregator?

2. Do you need a payment processor to accept credit card payments for your site?

3. Are you planning on hosting textual or multimedia content on your site?

4. Do you need site interactives that dynamically alter themselves based on visitor action?

5. Do you want to run advertisements for other companies to make additional revenue off of your company site?

6. Do you have enough content and/or products to necessitate a database driven website, such as a site utilizing a content management system (CMS)?

7. Will your site require third party plug-ins to play audio, video, or site interactives.

8. Is your target market more inclined to a professional approach, simple casual approach, or flashy approach?

If you're not sure about the answers to any of these questions or you know the answers and you aren't sure you can implement the solutions yourself, you may wish to seriously consider the following tips:

1. Find pre-designed Web templates that meet all of the above criteria. These may be free, but for a more complex site they may cost a small fee. It is almost always worth it to get a template if you get exclusive rights to the template and it meets all of your small company needs.

2. Hire a professional Web developer to put together a site meeting the needs you have. This can be somewhat expensive, but if you hire a good Web developer, the professionalism will make a tremendous difference in how much confidence Web site visitors have in placing orders. It will also help things go more smoothly down the road.

3. If your project requires rich media or interactives and you're not already accomplished in these areas, there are many very talented artists available on the Web for very reasonable prices. Use them.

If the answers to the questions left you feeling confident that you can do the whole company website yourself, then get started. Use your answers to the questions in the creation of your business plan and work flow charts. However, even if you're confident you can do the whole site yourself, it is a good idea to look into using Web templates. These can jump start and speed up your development process. If nothing else they can get your creative juices flowing and give you ideas on what you want to do with your small company site.

Of course, the place to start with templates is by looking at the free stuff first. The draw back of free templates is that somebody else's site may look like yours. But, given that you know what you're doing, you can use the template as a starting place to create something new and unique. If you haven't looked at templates in a while, you might not know that they are no longer just available in pure HTML. Many now implement complex scripts, proprietary media controls, content management systems, and advanced CSS customization. Although if you really want these advanced features, you will probably find the templates you have to buy are better options. The cost is usually small compared to the benefit if you find a template that perfectly suits your site goals and your target market.

There are also professional Web developer template membership sites where you pay a periodic membership fee and get access to thousands of templates. If you design sites regularly these may be of benefit to you. But if you just want to set up a site for your company, a template membership is probably not for you.

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