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Chapter 6: A Professional Website

Before You Jump into Designing Your Website...

Most people assume that a website is needed and so it is tempting to just rush in and put up a website as quickly as possible. Other folks are very focused on how they are perceived, and so they work with a designer to get the most beautiful site up that they can imagine. While both of these approaches work to get you an online presence, they are not how I recommend proceeding. A website, which as you already know I believe is a requirement for almost all types of small businesses today, is something that should be part of your larger plan. This means part of your marketing plan, and specifically, part of your Internet Plan.

Different Kinds of Websites
Let’s begin with some distinctions again. There are three main categories of websites: a standard website, a blog, and a combination of the two.

A Website is technically anywhere that you go using a URL (web address), and you can think of it as a virtual place online where a company is situated. It can ‘house’ all sorts of functions such as calendars, announcements, forms and in-depth information, or it can just be a page with basic information such as address and phone number. We’ll dive into all the variations of function and form a little bit later in this chapter.


A Quick Note on Building a Site with Graphics and Animation

Graphics can be your enemy on the web. The more you put important text information into graphics (like saving a block of text about your company as a .jpg) and do not effectively use text on your website, the less likely your site is to turn up in searches.
You may have heard that using Flash for your website is bad. That’s only partly true. When you use Flash for accessories on your site, such as a rotating image gallery, that’s fine. It’s when you embed all of the text that talks
about your company into Flash or images that it is difficult for search engines to read. In a nutshell: make sure all of your important information is in text format, not in images.

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