Web Site Design and Content
The internet is full of information covering these issues. However, the only points
you need to be aware of right now are as follows:
Probably the most important aspect of your web site is its content. In fact, "Content
is King". Now I can hear you saying already, "what content could I possibly
provide which relates to my small business". When we talk of content, we must
think of the people visiting your site - potential and existing customers. Let's
take a small Restaurant for example. What content could they possible supply that
would be of interest to a visitor.
How about starting with:
- The Menu.
- Chefs suggestions.
- Customer testimonials.
- Weekly or Monthly Specials.
- A wine list with descriptions and
- A list of frequently asked questions.
- Details of any special catering
services they might offer.
- A Special recipes section prepared
by the Chef.
- Photos of the premises and staff.
- A section where the visitor can
leave their email address so that they can be notified of special occasions etc.
- A special reminder service aimed
at reminding an individual of any occasions which might get them into 'hot water'
if they forget i.e wedding anniversaries.
- An online reservation form.
In fact, for those actually operating
a Restaurant, I'm sure they can come up with many other potential content areas.
It does not matter what type of small business you operate. The above suggestions
can easily be adopted to your specific area of business. This will ensure that your
web site does contain the sort of content which will benefit "ALL" visitors
(potential and existing customers) to your site.
Keep it simple. A visitor is after information about your businesses products and/or
services. They don't want to "waste time" being dazzled with flashy web
site design. It's important to note that this does go against many of the design
'experts' recommendations. My personal opinion on why design 'experts' are against
the use of simple sites goes something like this. A simple and clean site takes very
little time to construct and maintain once you've organised the content as described
previously. This greatly limits the amount of money which such a firm can extract
from you. However, by recommending a really sophisticated site with lots of graphics
and other 'bells and whistles' they are in a much better position to empty your bank
account. The really scary aspect of all this is that a simple and clean site will
prove to be more effective than one with all the 'bells and whistles'. I'll let you
work that one out.
Our personal experience proves that a simple and clean sites works. In fact, I've
noted my own browsing experiences and find that sites which load quickly and present
the information which I'm after are much preferred over those which try to impress
using large graphics and fancy page designs etc. When I'm browsing, I'm only interested
in information which will satisfy my immediate needs. If a site provides this information
quickly and easily, then as far as I'm concerned it's an effective site. Why not
make a note of your own observations as you browse the internet to see what you like
and dislike. I'm sure you'll be surprised at what you discover.
We could devote a whole site to web site design. Fortunately, there is no need. The
best place to start looking for ideas is by visiting other sites which may be similar
to your line of business. From these sites, you can get some excellent ideas on what
works and what doesn't work - from a design point of view. You'll suddenly see how
large graphics can impede a sites functionality. You'll also discover sites that
require specialised "plug-in's" to be installed on your computer before
you can view the site. This is a big no-no but as you guessed it, the design 'experts'
have had their way with the business owner. View the sites as a potential customer
and note those things which you like and dislike. There really are no mysteries in
putting a web site together. Once you've organised the content, you 80% finished.
Once again, use the forums
to ask any questions which you may have. You'll also find some valuable links in