The Ten Parts of a Business Website
Business owners who are ready to bring their brick 'n mortar businesses to the Internet experience
headaches dealing with designers, while the latter too often end up wanting to rip their hair out
because of add-ons, or things they learn about their clients after they've started the projects. Why?
Web sites require planning and lots of communication. So before you decide to speak to a web designer
or client... consider these Ten parts of a business website.
Just as a new building needs planning before construction begins, the creation of a web site is
preceded by preparation. Preparing for a new site includes having a business vision, an ideal client
profile and a clear picture of how your site will compliment your overall marketing strategy. From
the web designer's standpoint, it also includes where the files will go, what will they be named, the
number and type of graphics, text copy, programming needs, server environment and similar technical issues.
Trustworthiness and Integrity
Much is made of the virtual business relationship nowadays: doing business with people you've never
met in person. The fundamentals of a virtual business are the same as those of brick and mortar business:
you must prove that you can provide (and service!) what you're selling. Your site must also exude
trustworthiness or your visitors will leave faster than they arrived.
One of the most common embarrassments in the web design industry is the pervasive presence of text
copy with misspellings, poor grammar or simply poorly written. I've personally seen this even on the
sites of famous companies whose print publications are flawless. Why? Take the time to get it right
the first time. Hire a Copywriter or Virtual Assistant whose forte is in proofreading and grammar,
not only for your web site, but for all your editorial needs.
Where are you getting them from? Do you have legal permission to use them? Do you know that you have
to format graphics differently for the Internet than for your printed literature? What are JPEG, GIF or PNG?
Which format is best to use and when to use it? Have you calculated the extra time it will take for someone
to view a page with your graphics vs. without them. Think twice about using free graphics. Your professional
image may be damaged by including commonly used free clip art.
Documents are often a special case issue, as they require the viewer to possess the proper helper
applications (programs such as Adobe Reader) in order to open them. Special software is required for
PDF (.pdf) documents, Word docs (.doc) or WordPerfect (.wpt) files. Provide your target audience with
as many options as possible. Make sure they have the programs that you want them to use or provide
them with what is freely available. Consider protecting your files from being plagiarized, too.
Your web site is created through the use of one or more computer languages. The type and version of
each language can affect who is able to see the pages the cost to create the site, the difficulty of ongoing
maintenance and the ease of upgrading or making major changes. If you want to easily maintain the site
yourself, or to include sophisticated forms, or utilize a database or provide services such as personalization
or ecommerce, consider hiring a programmer qualified in an appropriate discipline, such as PHP, ASP or Cold Fusion.