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Thursday, January 27th
Designing the right website can not only allow you to showcase your products and services, but also can help you to attract new customers.
Whether you're a large company with hundreds of employees, or the local massage therapist hoping to bring in some new clientele, the right design on your website can make all the difference in whether you are successful.
If you are not technology-savvy, the first thing you should do is either use a website-builder tool to help you create your website, or hire a professional designer who can help you to create one. Website builders such as Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy and iPage allow users who are unfamiliar with HTML code - which is required to build a website - to create one. Pre-designed templates and "drop and drag" features make it easy for even the most technology-challenged person to create a functional website.
If the idea of creating your own website scares you, or you simply do not have the time or patience for it, there always is the option of hiring a graphic designer to do it for you. Depending on the area in which you live, rates can range from $350 to $1,000 per site. If cost is an issue, but you would still like to have help from a knowledgeable designer, consider hiring a graphic design student from the local college or university. They often have enough skills to create a great site and are less likely to charge an arm and a leg for their assistance than professional designers.
Once you decide by which means you will create your website, the next step is to decide what to include in the website to make it both attractive and user-friendly for visitors.
First and foremost, do not overwhelm your website visitors with flashy designs and features. Bombarding them with too many flash photos - or an "introduction page" which forces them to sit through a flashy show of photos or graphics before ever being able to access the main website - can actually drive customers away. While these things may look nice, they are mostly impractical for the average visitor to a website. They waste valuable time that a visitor may not have to spare.
Also important is to be clear and concise as to what your website is about. What product are you selling? What service do you offer? Is this just a website for guitar players to visit and learn things, or are you offering guitar lessons? If a visitor to your website finds themselves scratching their heads over exactly what it is the site is supposed to be for, you will lose them before you ever have a chance to wow them with your product or service.
Be sure to include contact information for your company or service. There is nothing more frustrating that finding a great website with a product or service you need, but no visible indication of how to contact the provider. Too many websites either fail to include this information at all, or make it so hard to find, that visitors give up and go elsewhere to fulfill their needs.
When designing content for each page on your website, be sure to make use of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, tags. SEO tags are well-placed key phrases within the text of any website that will help search engines to find your website when a visitor plugs in those keywords to a search engine such as Google. If you have hired a professional designer to create your site, the use of SEO tags should be something they are familiar with and able to incorporate. If you are designing the website yourself, take some time to read up about SEO and how to properly use it before creating the content for your website's pages. There is a vast amount of information available online about the basics of SEO that should help you to take advantage of this valuable tool.
Lastly, provide a mobile-friendly version of your website that will allow Smartphone and other android device users to access your website without it bogging down on them. Flash-heavy sites can be difficult to load onto these kinds of devices, so by offering a mobile-friendly version, you are ensuring that a large majority of people who only access the internet through these kinds of devices are still able to view your website.
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