Steps To Developing A Better Interactive Business Website
At one time, the majority of business owners just put up a Website of their company, usually for esthetics sake, provided they had the budget for it. This just to claim that they had a domain on the World Wide Web. They also had the assumption that the masses would just automatically come tearing down the virtual walls just to get to their site.
These companies soon realized that presenting an effective site isn’t just about putting up a few images and a “Contact Page” or a “Mission Statement.” What’s now involved is a lot of strategic planning, development, site design, and using the latest technology to create a viable interactive corporate site.
There are also other considerations which needs to be taken into account to create a site which functions to its fullest potential. There are Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques which needs to be activated, which translates to better analytics which requires monitoring and analyzing as well.
The following should help you in developing a plan along with identifying your overall goals, while hopefully you better understanding the technical end of your site. All while ensuring that the Web development process has all of the required components which should hopefully drive focused customers to your site.
Getting The Website Basics Down
As with anything, laying down a solid foundation is essential and a required component to developing a successful website. It begins with an effective and relevant domain name, which identifies your company or what your customers can relate to.
The majority of businesses will base their domain name on their company name, provided it’s unique enough, still available, and suits the nature of their business. The name should be easy to remember, and preferably a .com. In order to protect your domain name, you may also want to register several related names as well, such as variations in spelling for instance as well as the .net and .org domains.
All of the files and data which defines the content of your site along with the structure, are all stored on a Web server which is usually a separate service somewhere over the Internet.
It’s also possible for your company to host your site internally, in-house, on your own servers, particularly if you have extremely delicate or propriety data. The majority just choose to use a reliable external Web hosting service. What you need to make sure is that the service is accessible at all times, reliable, and “Iron Clad” secure.
If your site happens to become unavailable on the Internet, all of that design and development doesn’t matter. Also, if the data isn’t securely protected, and your sensitive information becomes breached, your company will incur unwanted negative publicity along with unexpected costs.
Make Sure The Website Is Up To Web Standards
This so that your existing as well as new customers can search for and find your site on the various search engines. The content of your site as well as the structure and all the files should be search engine friendly.
Although your files can be created in a variety of ways, it’s critical that the content follows all of the Web Standards and practices which comply to building proper Web Pages.
The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, found at www.w3c.org, is an excellent source to finding the latest of proper Web practices and standards. The fundamental technology of building Website pages is by using HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), XHTML, and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
HTML is a programming language which defines the content as well as the structure of a Web page. XHTML is a variant which is recommended by the W3C which incorporates XML, or Extensible Markup Language, which provides a cleaner and a more strict version of HTML. CSS is used to provide a defined and consistent style format for the site, which includes font sizes and colors, etc.
There are currently 3 basic methods when it comes to developing web content:
Basic Static Webpage Content
Which is written in standard HTML or XHTML. This type of site presents the exact content to all of the site visitors across all web platforms
Flash Based Web Content
These sites are constructed using Adobe Flash tools. They will display rich multimedia as well as interactive based page content across all platforms
Dynamic Web Content
Dynamic web based content uses a combination of both scripting languages along with HTML/XHTML, which dynamically changes the content or the style of the page based on the site visitors input or the information that’s stored on a database
The Structure Of Your Site
Based on the level of complexity that your wanting on your site, or how much you’re willing to spend, which usually dictates the IT talent level, the most affordable is putting up a simple generic standard website template which is usually provided by your Web hosting company, or available for free on the Internet.
Another option, which is the most popular as well as the most flexible to manage is using an Open Source content management system or (CMS), such as: WordPress, Drupal or Joomla.
If you’re wanting an exclusive custom designed site, you can always hire an in-house Web development team to develop a flashing and flickering proprietary Website.
Regardless of which method you choose, what’s important is making sure that the site developers are able to create a site which is search engine friendly.
The site needs to be accessible to invite the various search engine to crawl and then index your site so it will be listed on the major search engines.
The following is recommended for better indexing:
• Try to minimize the use of Flash as the search engine bots are not usually able to read Flash based content
• Make sure that you use a search engine friendly site map on your site. Make sure that there’s internal links to every page of your site
List your site on all of the major search engines:
Basic SEO Search Engine Optimization
The purpose and goal of Search Engine Optimization is to optimize your website’s organic ranking in the search engine results. Although to most, it’s a mysterious and a far from exact science. Effective SEO is usually influenced by two basic factors, keywords and links.
The keywords which you target are essentially how you want your potential customers to find you when they type their search query into a search engine. This to land on your page which offers your product or service.
As for links, they are either internal or external links. What internal linking on your site does is it takes your visitors to the different pages on your site via a sitemap or a navigation route within the content-based links.
External links which point back to your site, which are also known as backlinks, or incoming links, are a bit more involved and time consuming. The goal for external links is to get the highest and best quality links as possible pointing back to your site from various related, well-ranking, preferably authority sites from around the Internet.