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Web Design Articles

This page has been created to provide the general public with some of the most intuitive website realated articles. Pick an article from the list below to read.

What kind of website will you choose?by Phil M.

Why You Need A Web Siteby Robert Sullivan.

15 Powerful Reasons To Start A Web Site by Milana Nastetskaya

What kind of website will you choose?
by Phil M.

There are a lot of different kinds of websites - and there are a lot of people who know they want a website, but aren't even sure why. If you don't already know, you need to figure out exactly what it is that you want your website to do. What kind of thing do you want to put on it? Who are you trying to get to visit? Here's a quick guide to some of the most popular website types.

The Business Card Website.
For many people, having a website is something they feel the need to do as a duty, not because they really want to do it. In this case, it's perfectly justified to put up a website with nothing more than your name, your business name (if any), and your email address. You could also include your real-world address and your phone number, if you're comfortable with that. The key here is to at least put up something for someone who happens to be looking for you with a search engine.

You have to understand, though, that these kinds of sites can be as frustrating as they are helpful. Friends and co-workers may be excited to find your site, only to say "oh... is that all it does?" Customers, especially, have a tendency to get upset, especially if they just wanted to know something about your products or pricing. Not having a complete website makes work for them when they have to ask you about these things, and for you when you have to answer.

The CV/Portfolio Website.
An extension of the business card format is to make your website brief, and directed at getting people to call you if they're interested in you. It could just be a listing of the jobs you've had, or it could be an archive of the articles you've written for various publications - whatever, it's there to get you work. These kinds of websites can be effective, although you should realise that you're more likely to get some work because of a site that people find useful than because of one that's just about you.

The Brochure Website.
They're often-mocked in web design, but they're not really that bad: brochure-style websites simply reproduce the kind of material you would send out in a brochure to an interested customer, complete with pictures and technical details. Instead of actually doing any business online, you give the customer your contact information.

In many industries, really, this is the only way to work. There are things you just can't do with shopping carts and credit card processing, after all, especially when it comes to services. These kinds of websites are especially prevalent among businesses with a more local focus.

The E-Commerce Website.
There are two situations where e-commerce works really well: if you're selling a service that can be provided over the web, or if you're selling a small product that you can handle shipping for. In these situations, e-commerce websites are very powerful. You can sell your product direct online, cutting out whatever middlemen there might be.

The Content Website.
Ever more popular, content websites work by providing useful writing and then putting ads around it. That's the whole business model in a nutshell, but it works surprisingly well. The more writing you can do (or get), the better it works for you. If you want, you can even leave off the ads and put up a small button asking people to donate to your site if they found your information helpful - people can be nicer than you'd expect.

The Community Website.
Finally, an often-ignored kind of website is one that exists to serve a community. The community might be geographical (people who live in the same town), or it could an interest or hobby community (a forum for people who really like a certain genre of TV show, for example). Community websites can be fun to participate in, and they can make a lot of money if you can find advertisers who are interested in the very specific audience your site has got. If your site gets popular, you might even be able to charge people for membership! Even if it stays free and small, though, it's nice to have a web community to call your own, and you're likely to benefit in all sorts of ways that you wouldn't expect.
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Why You Need A Web Site
by Robert Sullivan

EVERY small or home-based business should consider a website. There are certainly some businesses where a website offers nothing of value but for the vast majority a website can be a very effective sales channel and marketing tool. I've listed just a few reasons why a website can be such a powerful tool but before you continue - and just to underscore how valuable the Internet can be - consider these statistics:

  • Two billion orders will be placed over the Internet this year.
  • E-commerce revenue will be $95 billion by the end of this year and will exceed $1 Trillion by 2002.
  • Holiday purchases have increased from $141 million in 1995 and are expected to be $9.5 billion this year.
Low Cost
Utilizing the Internet for your business is very inexpensive. Unlimited connect accounts are generally available for less than $20/month and include Internet access and e-mail. You can start off with just using electronic mail (e-mail) as a way to communicate with existing customers and new ones.

Communicate anywhere in the world with customers and employees and pay NO long distance telephone charges. And while you're at it, you can "attach" other documents to your e-mail. For example, you can send an updated proposal to your representative across the country - quickly and at no cost.

Customer Support
Provide personalized support for your customers with answers to common questions; assistance on specific products or services, provide a variety of ways in which you can be contacted. Do all this without answering a phone or hiring additional staff.

Be Open For Business 24 hours a day
This sounds bad but in reality it's a big plus. With e-mail, people can contact you anytime it is convenient for them. You can respond anytime that's convenient for you. Of course, we suggest "timely-response" just as if someone called you. When you have a website, potential customers can find out about your products and services 24 hours a day. Isn't this much better than getting a call at 5:00 AM from a customer in a time zone that's 3 hours ahead of yours?

Global Reach
The Internet is being used on a regular basis by millions worldwide with more "connecting" every day. Many of the new users come from countries around the world. They want to buy the "latest and greatest" products. They have money. With the Internet they can become your customer! How much do you think it would cost you to advertise in the Times of London, the Tokyo Daily, and Moscow Today? Compare that to the cost of a website. The information you provide on your website is instantly available to every one of these users

Reach customers that speak a foreign language
Why restrict your market to the "English-speaking" world? Translate your website into a number of languages and offer a choice to users when they come to your home page to further increase your exposure.

Money Savings
Today your long-distance phone bill can run into the hundreds of dollars. Using the e-mail to talk to your customers, suppliers, partners, etc., can save you a large portion of this expense.

Try new ideas
Since the Internet is a "brand-new" medium, no one (including us) really knows all of the ways you can make money from the Internet. We do know there are a whole lot of great ideas already. When you use the Internet, you can try new ideas usually for little invested on your part. It doesn't work, OK, you learned. Modify it your idea. Improve it. At the very least you'll know more than your competitors. Who could imagine that authors would put their books on the Internet? Well, that's what people are trying with the hope that customer's will like what they read enough so that they'll buy the paper version.

Update or Change your products and services easily and at low cost
If you have produced "paper" catalogs, brochures, sales collateral's, you know how difficult and expensive it is to change them. You want to add a new item. Oh no! The phone company changed your area code. No, no! What a pain with paper. With your Internet site, changing anything is a simple and inexpensive process.

Say you just received a new product and you want to advertise a "special." Reaching your customers via the phone, sending a letter, or FAX would be time-consuming and expensive. With the Internet you can send out an e-mail to 500 of your best customers with the click of your mouse. You can put a "SPECIAL" notice on your website advertising the new product.

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15 Powerful Reasons To Start A Web Site
by Milana Nastetskaya

It's easy to build a Web site. Anyone can do it for little or no money. What is not easy is building a successful business with it. So how do you do it? Start by asking yourself: "Why do I need a web site? What will it accomplish for my business?"

The biggest mistake you can make is to build a Web site that doesn't do anything for you. This may seem obvious, but too many companies build Web sites simply because they believe it would be neat, or because their competitors have one. Without a real purpose, a Web site is just a complete waste of time.
By the way, there is always a good purpose for starting a web site - you just have to discover it. Just look at all the great things that will happen to you when you start your own web site:

1 - Your business will be open 24 hours a day.
This means you won't have to stay open on Thanksgiving or Christmas day. If you live on the East Coast, people from California will still be able to shop in your store after you close. Any time someone wants to know your hours, location, directions, or any other details about your company, they can get it without disturbing you.

2 - Low staffing costs.
When you have a web site, you can offer your products and services without hiring any extra employees. You won't have to spend any resources on compensating or insuring your new staff members and still be able to maintain the same level of sales and customer service.

3 - Gain thousands new customers.
Because anyone in the world can see your web site, you will gain customers from other states and countries while you are putting in the same amount of effort and money.

4 - Create an image of a well established company.
The Internet is a great medium through which you can create any image of yourself you want. It is all in your hands: design a professional web site, add helpful content, and your company will immediately take a step up in the image it represents. No matter how small your business is, with the right tools and a great desire you can make it look like a corporation on the Web!

5 - Save on postage and printing costs.
Think of how many cards you mail out to let customers know about your sale. All of that can be eliminated by putting the sale information on your web site and inviting your customers to visit it. You can collect your customers' E-Mail addresses and keep in touch with them about special events in your store via E-Mail.

6 - Unlimited advertisement.
If you ever advertised in a local newspaper, you know the costs. You are being charged per line, per inch, and per color. On the Web, there is no limit to how much you can put. You can add pictures, articles, newsletters, rates, product images and so much more! With just one web site, you can have almost unlimited advertisement for the same low monthly cost (under $25 a month!)

7 - Improve communications.
If you have employees or suppliers, your web site is the best way to communicate between you and them. Changes take effect as soon as you post them on the Web, and everyone can see updated information without having to wait for a new database of products, and without contacting you directly.

8 - Impeccable customer service.
This is a dream of any entrepreneur: "buy my product and leave me alone". By this I mean that business owners do not like to spend time explaining to customers how to use the product, how to install it, troubleshoot it, clean it, move it, turn it, and whatever else can be done to a purchased item.

9 - A web site will become your best friend in meeting the needs of your customers.
It will answer all their questions. Simply create a page of "Frequently Asked Questions" and include its address on every receipt. This way, before they come to you for help, they will come to your web site for answers.

10 - Online presence - in step with your competitors.
You must think of the Internet as a gigantic the Yellow Pages book. More and more people use the Web to shop for information, services and products. If you are not there - your competitors are! Can you imagine not being in Yellow Pages and try to reach local market? Unless you spend a lot of money on newspaper ads and other local promotions - no one will know your business exists. The same thing with the Internet. If people can't find your company on the Web, you might as well not exist.

11 - Provide an alternate purchasing method.
Many people do not like to shop in the stores, malls and any other noisy places (I am first!). They are afraid of long walks, pressure from sales people, sneezing customers and bumping shopping carts. Once they discover online shopping - they will never go back to the stores unless absolutely necessary. By putting your products online, you satisfy the needs of such customers and therefore succeed in one more niche.

12 - Showcase your work.
Whether you are a real estate agent, construction business owner or a beauty salon specialist - you can put your work on display when you have a web site. Anytime a potential client wants to see your past work and projects, simply refer him or her to your site. No need to scan and mail pictures, or bring your client to a finished building project.

13 - Promotional Costs are very low.
When I interviewed the manager of NY State Nissan dealership, he shared with me the costs of running an online ad compared to a newspaper or any other printed advertisement. He said, "We can run a whole month of advertisements online for the same amount of money we pay for one newspaper ad!" That's right, on an online promotion you can spend $97 a month, while paying 10 times that much for a one-time large ad in a magazine!

14 - Beat your competition to the top.
Competition online is huge today! There are over 3,000,000 sites on the Web and this number is growing. Still, I see at least 5 businesses a month who are not online and getting a web site is not in their near future plans. Why am I telling you this? Because if THEY don't get a web site - YOU have a better chance at succeeding. Insurance, home improvement, gift shops and other companies are among those I see dragging their feet in putting their businesses online. This means if you do it now, before EVERY company is online, you will be among the pioneers!

15 - Yep, that's right
Internet is still in its babyhood, no matter how many web sites there are out there. It has been less than a decade since companies decided to use web sites as part of their marketing strategies. Can you imagine what it will be like in 20-30 years??

I could go on and on, but I hope you are convinced: YOUR BUSINESS ABSOLUTELY NEEDS A WEB SITE! Click here to request a Free Quote TODAY!

Even if you are not planning to sell directly online, people will find your web site and contact you about the services you offer. You can place your web site address in your newspaper ads and any other promotional materials to make people aware of your web site.

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