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#68 [10.04.2006]
 

How to Build a Professional Website

By Nowshade Kabir İRusbiz.com

How to Build a Professional Website

Do you know that most of the companies get their first website way of the mark? The reason is simple! Unless the owners are technologically savvy or have extremely clear idea of the benefits of professional website, for most companies it is more like a thing that you have to have since every body else has one. Another reason is whether the company builds its website in house or hires professionals to develop it, website requires a certain commitment from the company management. Many senior staffs don't understand the seriousness of the web project as they don't have enough knowledge of what a professional website is capable of doing.

Today, most of your business processes can be managed through your company website. Using web technology skillfully companies are in a position to grow business many folds and generate significant sales through the Internet. Sales increase of 40 percent to 50 percent within the first year of launching a professionally built website is not isolated cases.

If you want to get your website right from the first time, or would like to revamp your existing website to a more aggressive sales channel that generates revenue the following suggestions will help you getting the desired results:

Before you set out to build your website you should pull together enough content for your site. In the Internet content is the king! The number one reason for people to go online is to find information that they are searching. That's why to become a serious contender in the market you have to have a large number of pages with high quality content on your site. How many? There is no hard and fast rule, but for an average site it should be no less than 80 to 120 pages. Our content repository http://library.rusbiz.com a good resource for this purpose.

Once you know all the contents that you are planning to have on your website, the next step is to lay down the site structure. This might look complicated but there is a way out of it. Study the websites of your competitors those who are doing good on the Internet.

In offline world you probably already know who your competitors are. You also probably know, at least to some extent, which keywords your buyers will use to find a company like yours. Now, do a search using those keywords or phrases, check out the companies that are ranking best in Google, Yahoo and MSN. If these companies are selling similar products or services like you, they are undoubtedly your primary competitors. A systematic research of companies that are exposed heavily in search engines will help you see which key market they are targeting, how they are doing this, what marketing and promotional methods they are using to attract customers, etc.

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Here I have listed some must have stuffs for a truly professional website:

A good company logo
For any business whether it is online or offline it is important to create a brand name. Branding helps people to recognize your company and associate it with your products or services. Your company logo is a key component in your branding endeavor. That's why you should consider developing a high quality, visually pleasant and easily recognizable logo if your company still doesn't have one.

Ability to register on your site
One of the main ideas behind a business website should be to build a list of prospective customers. If a person shows enough interest in your products and services and feels it's worthwhile to receive regular information from you and register at your website it means that she is a potential customer for your business. In order to entice more people to sign up, you should have a member's only section with valuable content, discussion boards, electronic journals, etc. A registered member of your site should receive news and information from you regularly.

Search ability for the whole site
All the information available on your website should be at the finger tip of the visitor. Not all visitors have enough patience to browse through the pages of your site to find out what they are looking for. A search mechanism that covers your whole site allows visitors to find required information promptly.

Electronic journal
This is a very good way to keep in touch with your clients and prospective customers. Through your ezine you will keep customers informed about new products, changes in specifications, upcoming company and industry events, press releases, etc.

Testimonials
Positive testimonials from your customers give potential buyers a feeling of extra assurance. Make sure that the testimonials are true, concise and clear.

Company and industry news and press releases
You should regularly update and post company and industry news on your site. If you are planning to launch a new product or service or arranging an event you should announce this type of news through press releases.

Feedback
Whoever wants to contact you should have the ability to do so the way it is most convenient for her. Your phone number should be posted prominently on your home page. There should be a feedback form, which a visitor can fill up and send easily.

A call for action
Each of your pages should be created with a definite purpose. Once a visitor read through the page you should give him direction what to do next.

Easy navigation to key pages
No information on your website should be located more than three clicks away. The home page and other key pages should have access from top menu.

Product or service guarantee
You should clearly stipulate what guarantee a buyer has if he is not satisfied with your products or services.

A catalog with shopping cart
If you have a website you must sell products and services. If you don't have anything of your own to sell you can always get relevant to your site products or services from other suppliers.

Product and service specifications
All your products and services should have precise, up-to-date and complete specifications with pictures.

Promotion
On you home page you should always have some types of promotion. A limited time discount, a free additional feature, two for one, etc. are examples of promotional advertisements.

Company history
Many prospective customers would like to know more about the company before doing any business. You should have a page with company profile, contacts, mission statement, company vision, etc.

When you finished preparing your site structure and gathered all the contents necessary, with the help of professionals create a detail technical scope of the site. This will give you a clear picture of what you will receive when your site is ready. This will also help you budget your site. The next steps that you have to take are:

1. Create layouts and designs for the Home page and the second major pages.
2. Create content surrounding two three key phrases per page.
3. Select designs for these pages.
4. Develop rest of the site.
5. Get peoples from different industries and backgrounds to have a look at your site once it is ready and give you honest recommendation.
6. Make necessary changes based on the new ideas that you have received from your friends, colleagues and workers.
7. Publish it.

Although, you should be involved in every stage of the web development, you should trust professionals to create the actual web site. Even as far as the cost is concerned, this will be cheaper in the long run.



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About the author
Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present CEO of Rusbiz.com. A Ph. D. in Information Technology, he has wide experience in Business Consulting, International Trade and Web Marketing. Rusbiz is a Global B2B Emarketplace with solutions to start and run online business. Click here to contact him.