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These are some of basics to consider when designing a web site.
Consider also, 'who will submit your site to search engines once design is complete?'. Some of design companies offering this service use 'bulk submission' software, which in many cases can be ineffective. We recommend that first time you submit your site to 'leading' search engines you do it manually. Take time to follow instructions carefully. On directory sites like Yahoo and Open Directory, you should only submit your site one time, so get it right.
The last point is 'Hosting'. If you are serious about your web business, try to avoid free-host sites. Most of them use redirection scripts that some of search engines cannot follow. If you are considering a 'Mall' site, or any site that is 'template' based, find out constraints that they impose on information you can post to site. Many will allow only basic text, product and image loading to site, and may not allow you to load 'optimized' HTML pages.
Having a web site is all about 'exposure', and search engines provide most effective vehicle for delivering your site to masses. On average, businesses spend around $1500 on improving search engine rankings, usually following a period of being 'lost in wilderness' of Internet. In many cases, careful design is all that is required, and it need only add around $200 to initial design cost of web site.
If your site is already online then above techniques can still be applied retrospectively, though making changes is more difficult than getting it right first time.
Carl Hruza - works as an Independent Consultant, and operates the web business TopWebPromotion. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org http://topwebpromotion.com