In This Chapter
• The key elements of a good website
• The importance of having a search engine-friendly site
• The do's and don'ts for online businesses
• Five tips for creating a better online presence
Looking at other websites and analyzing their design, identifying what on a site is likely to appeal to customers and what you don't like about the site, is easy. What's difficult is making your own site and being happy with the end results.
This book isn't about the nuts and bolts of building a website, though, as there are plenty of those on the market, including my technically oriented Creating Cool Web Sites with HTML, XHTML and CSS (Wiley, 2004). We'll never look at the markup language used to create a page or link from one page to another, with just a few small exceptions.
Just as building a house is about a lot more than just figuring out whether the black or white wire should be connected to the "+" terminal on an outlet, building a good business website, a site that helps promote your business in the online world, is about much more important topics than markup and plug-in technologies.
The best business Web sites revolve around selling both the products and services that the company offers and solving the problems of the customers, with a clean, coherent and understandable appearance.
First and foremost, a good business website instantly conveys to the visitor -- to your potential customer -- what your business is about, how you differentiate yourself from your competitors, what products or services you offer, and how you can help solve the visitor's problems. Some people explore the web for fun, but if someone's seeking out a business-related website, they are in the market to comparison shop, to learn more about a potential purchase, to find out how to evaluate a specific type of service person, or, ideally, to become your customer.
Inside The Book