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Love What You Do - Your Website

A Recipe for a Successful Website

by Zhenya Beck  2006-2014

Obvious, often overlooked and secret ingredients ;-) behind website success.

1. Be inspired. Have a business idea that is meaningful to you and convey this meaning to others with your website. Love what you do - your business, your story, your website - lack of integrity will show even if you work with an experienced design or marketing firm.

2. Have a memorable, easy to spell domain name. The best names are advertisements on their own.

3. Start your website planning with the most important basic pages: what you offer, benefits of your products or services, your story, contact information and testimonials from satisfied clients.

4. Keep it simple. Use organization and navigation structure familiar to your audience. Most people do not have time to figure out how innovative navigation works.

5. Make contact information prominent on your site. Put it on every page, so your prospects can contact you at any point of their visit.

6. Testimonials from customers are especially important for online businesses that never meet their prospects face to face. How else can they trust you?

7. Other "trust-building" elements: professional look and feel, company history, memberships and awards, your guarantee to your customer, contact information including physical address and technical details like installed, working and up-to-date SSL certificates for ecommerce sites.

8. Use Flash sparingly if necessary to convey your message and as a cherry on top. Most users don't have time to watch Flash intros, and search engines can't read Flash content.

9. Establish multiple ways of interacting with your visitors: have inquiry and feedback forms, FAQ pages, bulletin boards or, better yet, start a blog about your area of expertise.

10. Collect your visitors' contact information - build a database of your current customers and visitors interested in your products or services.

11. Make sure to update your website regularly. Discuss it with your webmaster - should you have a control panel for that or should you have your webmaster update the site for you?

12. Make sure your site is search engine friendly. Get links to your site from relevant sites on the Internet. Every link to you is a vote of approval in the eyes of your visitors and search engines.

13. Be consistent, but flexible in your message - your success depends on how sensitive you are to your customer needs in a constantly changing marketplace.

14. When selecting a web development company, check their portfolio to see how their sites work, check their references, call them and see if they answer reliably and offer excellent support. You want to establish a long-term relationship.

15. Host with a reliable web company that keeps your site up and quickly loading, provides you with a top level domain (unique IP address), supports the necessary programming languages, and comes with webmail and site usage statistics.

16. Appreciate your web designers, developers and support people. Don't forget to thank them for their work - your appreciation keeps them going.

17. Promote, promote and promote your site - on your business cards, in trade shows, on the weblogs and other media that is likely to be used by your prospective audience.

18. Have reasonable expectations regarding what can be done within your budget. Running an online business is cheap in comparison with traditional ways, but it is still takes time and resources to design your professional-looking website, program and integrate its functionalities, optimize it for search engines and your customers, promote and update it.

19. It is not going to be always easy to move forward and to keep your cool. Think big, plan long term, be patient and maintain a positive attitude. Great success occurs in a series of small steps.

20. Appreciate your website. Remember, what you appreciate, appreciates. Keep appreciating your customers, your team and your business. Keep loving, improving and appreciating your website.

By Zhenya Beck

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This article can be freely distributed as long as the following information and a link to this website are included:

Zhenya Beck, M.A. Journalism is an online marketing and web development consultant and founder of Centauria - http://www.centauria.com, Vancouver, BC web design and development company helping businesses and organizations with their online presence since 1998.

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