- What 10 things are most important when planning a website?
1. Have a business plan
Have you ever heard of a site not doing what it's supposed to? It's a common error that many sites suffer from. A business plan, or at least a mission statement, will serve as a backbone for decisions made about the website. The more specific your business plan is, the more your site will hit the mark.
2. Get a high resolution Logo
Logos are the lasting image that audiences take with them. Eventually the quality of your business will define what this image means to your client. It is crucial that you attain high-resolution digital copies of your logo for use on the website and all of your print material. Appeal Design can work alongside you to make sure your logo is getting the concepts across that you want.
3. Capture Photographs & Images
Quality photography is a huge distinguisher between amateur and professional. Photos of your product or service in your industry are best when they are genuine. Collect as many images and photographs into a file folder as possible. Professional images can be purchased for relatively cheap if photographs aren’t available. Custom Professional photography is sometimes needed and is available from Appeal Design.
4. Have a goal - The Call to Action
Ultimately, your ideal user will end their experience on your homepage with a desired action. Perhaps it's using a product demo, watching a video, filling out a request form, downloading a file, or simply getting directions. All pages on your website should promote a path to a Call to Action. The Call to Action is after all, the reason for the site.
5. Know your client/audience
You're in business, and so far you've known how to talk to your client. Who is the end user and what do they need to hear? Your sales pitch should come across in your site. Websites that are most respected and visited are the ones that have figured out how to provide a site that is informative. Imagine you are talking to your ideal client, before they knew about your industry.
6. What are your design preferences?
Your website is the virtual front door to the customer. The average first page view for a website is less than 7 seconds. All of the blood, sweat and tears you've poured into your website don't mean a thing if your design isn't addressing the audience appropriately. What are design standards for your industry? Do you have a color scheme/preference? Are there sites that you like and dislike? If so, why and which parts?
7. Define your Page Names
What do you envision the page names being for the main menu? Secondary menu if needed
8. Write your text (copy)
Yes, yes, yes, we need some help from you on the text. No one knows your business as well as you do. Whether or not you have been blessed with the ability to finesse words, there are certain technical aspects of the process that you are privy to simply from your exposure and experience in the industry. Take a stab at writing text for each page. Appeal Design does have copywriter services to fine-tune your technical insight.
9. Know what your competitors are doing
The key to a successful Atlanta Web Design is research within the specific industry. If your competitor has a good idea, how can you improve upon it, how can you do it better? Your expertise imposed on their idea will breed new ones.
10. Define your keywords
What keywords are most important for a Google, Yahoo, MSN (Bing) search?
- How much should I budget for a website?
Budgeting for a website can be a difficult task. There are many elements that one should take into account when laying out a website and marketing budget for your company. By no means is the list below comprehensive. Our least favorite question when we receive a call is "How much will a website cost me?" This is akin to asking, "How much for a car?" The answer always comes down to the scope of the project.
Templated Website/ Low Budget - $800-$1,500
A template website can allow your company to get on its web-feet quickly and on a limited budget. Template websites often get a bad rap for being "dime a dozen". Many web designers do not approve of these kind of sites because they pose a threat. The truth is they have their place, and as demand for inexpensive websites increases, so will the quantity of template websites. Admittedly, template websites have their limitations and should only be considered as a temporary fix to your long-term web marketing goals. Appeal offers templated sites with a Content Management System that allows for 5 pages of content custom chosen colors.
Custom-Designed Website - $2,500-$6,000
Custom graphic design is widely underestimated when referring to websites. A properly custom design allows your website to target to your audience and corral them into a set path where the call to action is a very easy route for them to take. Custom-Designed sites allow you to capture leads, incorporate custom programming, Ecommerce and Flash.
Animation and Interactivity +$250-$3,000
Animation and movement can be as simple as adding a header banner or an interactive widget, or as complex dynamically informed Flash website. Either way it is an effective way of sprucing up your website and letting your audience know you take your web presence very seriously.
Custom Programming and Ecommerce +$250 - ?
Programming is a very open-ended realm of web applications. Complex functionality and database management are becoming more important as users need to edit and update their sites' content quickly.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - $100-$1,000 monthly
"How do I get my website to the top of a Search Engine (Google/MSN/Yahoo)?" The magic question is easy to ask, but one of the most difficult to answer and implement. The answer lies in an algorithm that each of the Search Engines have devised. Companies spend millions each year to make sure that their company's website is answering the call of these algorithms which base their results on things like Title Tags, Alt Tags, Meta Tags, "Backlinks", Site Architecture, Keyword Density. The bottom line is that no one can guarantee search engine results, but we have become very good at figuring out what works. The challenge is doing those things better than your competition. If Search Engine Results are absolutely vital to the livelihood of your business, you should plan to spend monthly to analyze, restructure, and generate searchable content for Search Engines to find.
- How does Ecommerce Work?
Congratulations! You've decided that passive income is the way to go! Whether you are selling one item or a catalog full of them we'll make sure it's done right for your website. While ECommerce can seem intimidating at first, rest assured that Appeal will walk you through the process step by step. A list of the items you'll need to get up and running include.
The Shopping cart is the actual interface which consumers interact with in order to input and purchase from your website. The shopping cart can either be a custom or a 3rd party application. Upon checkout, the software calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) and passes the information to the SSL Certificate.
SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer Certificate):
This is a technical term for saying "encryption". SSL is responsible for encoding all information which is input through your website, and then sending it to the payment gateway. Only the Payment gateway has the decoder for this 128-bit encrypted message. So even if someone else were to intercept the request, there would be no way to decipher its actual meaning.
The payment gateway is the terminal which decodes the credit card information from the website and charges the card. When acceptance of the card is obtained, the Gateway re-encodes information and sends a message back to the client's internet browser. Additionally, the payment gateway will notify either you and/or the order fulfillment house that will send the product.
Your company will need to set up a bank account which the terminal can distribute funds to. When opening the account make sure that the account will be able to allow for electronic transfers from payment gateways. Sometimes the bank will need to give access codes in order to accept the payment.
- What is SEO/SEM? Do I need it?
What is SEO/SEM? Do I need it?
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing are perhaps the two most important terms on the internet today. Search Engine Optimization refers to the ability to infuse a website with search-engine friendly code. As simple as that might sound, it isn't. Algorithms from Google, MSN, and Yahoo are growing more intelligent and more complex by the day. Sites must be constructed with the correct architecture, have the right keyword density, and contain enough articles to sustain themselves there. For highly competitive search terms SEO can cost more than the website itself. Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS) are directly related to items such as title tags, meta tags, and folder names.
Search Engine Marketing is the umbrella that includes SEO. Also included are paid banner ads, Google AdSense, and contextual advertisements.
With a free market analysis of your site, The Appeal Design can custom fit an SEM package for your marketing needs and budget at the same time.
- Which web browsers do you Support?
Which Browsers are you "compatible" with? What is the best one?
Appeal Design realizes that not every website looks the same in every browser. With tablets and mobile phones taking the web towards a smaller experience, browsers are all jockeying for position and relevance. Over the years the way we code has changed drastically and browsers have followed suit. We code to W3C standards which ensures that we are on the cutting edge of the best current coding methodologies. Below is a review of the most popular browsers and what to expect when using them.
Google released its browser (Chrome) in 2008. This is the preferred browser as it allows for logins to span devices. A user on a phone browser can easily visit a page that is on their desktop computer at home. Google is optimistic that this new browser will soon be widely accepted among the loyal Google users.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Remaining relevant is Microsoft Internet Explorer. IE continues to provide internet users with an excellent experience. Because IE was one of the first and most widely accepted browsers, it has some significant rendering problems since the CSS revolution of 2004. Recently released IE10 claims to have solved many of these in the hopes of preserving the top spot amongst internet users. Appeal Design currently supports IE version 8+
Apple's Safari browser has a significant share of browsers used. Some technologies that function on PC browsers may not function correctly on Apple proprietary browser. Appeal Design recommends Mozilla Firefox be used in place of Safari on a Mac platform.
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