Charleston, SC (PressExposure) October 21, 2009 -- A recent study showed that more than 74% of Americans were active internet users. Businesses that do not have a web presence are missing out on three-quarters of the nation. This means that if you are in business without a website you may not be in business for long.
The largest hurdle is finding the right web designer. Try typing "Web Site Design" into Google and see how many pages of entries return. It's like trying to find a specific grain of sand at the beach.
Matt Thompson from Splash Omnimedia has put together a simple checklist to help businesses collect and analyze all of the pertinent information when choosing a design professional.
1. Search the web - Take a look around at different websites. Start with your direct competitors, then others in your industry, then you industry partners, and then your favorite stops. Look at its layout - does it make sense? Can you tell within a matter of seconds what this company does? Is the site appealing to the eye? Does it make you want to find out more about what they are offering? After all, the reason the website is up is to earn your business! If it is not accomplishing this goal, then the site is not doing its job.
2. Look for referrals - As you are perusing this list of sites, scroll to the bottom of the page. Most sites are "signed" by the design company, usually with the name of the company and a link to their own home page. Ask your clients and colleagues if they have done business with them in the past. Were they good to work with? Did the product match the expectations? Did they complete the project efficiently without charging you a pound of flesh? Were they as excited and passionate about your project as you were?
3. Know your agreement - Unfortunately there are a lot of web design companies that try to take advantage of their clients with after launch support issues. Do they charge you for minor tweaks and text changes? If so, how much and in what increments? Are they willing to show you how do make minor updates and only require that you call them for drastic changes? Like a car, make sure you understand the maintenance costs before you agree to anything.
4. Market the marketing - So, now you have a website, which is a great start. Now how are people going to know about it? The point is to get as many of the 74% of Americans, and others, to look at it. Offline, you need to make sure to put it on as much of you advertising as possible. Online marketing of your site is a little more intense. It starts with ensuring that your designers optimize your site for search engines. Then you need a comprehensive and systematic search engine campaign.
5. GET IT DONE! - It takes time to build a good site that works, and even longer for it to show up in the useful spots of a search request - some times months. The longer you wait, the longer it will take you to harvest the rewards of online marketing. Get started today.