Continued from page 1
I have an insurance and investments broker client who, from very start, was particular about how he wanted site to "look", but he hadn't given any thought about what site would accomplish. It took several months and many hours of conversation to develop a site plan. His site allows his clients to submit claims information, prospects to request more information about specific products, casual browsers to learn about his services, and his clients' employees to look up medical providers from various HMO and PPO plans. Without some planning, he could have ended up with a fancy "business card" and never gotten lots of leads from people who have visited his site.
Third, check whether web hosting company is providing Front Page extensions. Microsoft's Front Page 2000 (and other high-end web page editors), is a huge timesaver and gives you access to a wide selection of advanced functionality for your site (automatic form creation, marquees, java scripts, tables, etc.). Of course, you can always be a purist and learn HTML coding in your spare time.
Fourth, think long and hard about using affiliate advertising. My most successful web clients waited a year or more to gain any significant site traffic, and that was only as a result of a concerted marketing plan that publicized site to existing customers. Too many people, with no background in page layout and design, plop ads all over their sites and wait for referral checks to roll in. The only thing they actually achieve is making their sites look like shoddy billboards for other sites. Affiliate ads "can" help drive traffic, but map out a plan and be very picky about who you sign up with. If your site is a local or regional site, look for ads from local and regional businesses that you (or your prospects) may already have a relationship with in brick and mortar world.
Finally, best web sites are "works in progress". The web is an evolving collection of styles and technologies, and your presence on it can be as well. Keep tweaking.
George M Ewing, Help Desk Services, Inc., Malvern, PA, Tel. 610-408-0300