Web Site Development

8 Basic Steps to a Successful Web Site

1) Register your domain name
YOURDOMAIN.COM - If you are simply a sub-directory of another site your site will not be taken seriously. Further, with your own name you have ownership of the name and can move it to another ISP or even take it "in house" later on if you choose. And your own name will help with search engines. Warning: Do not do this yourself unless you know which of the dozens of companies to register with. Signing yourself through the wrong company could lock you into a long-term hosting contract (it is in the fine print you did not read) that may have dozens of add-ons (you do not really think that the cost is really $2.99 per year did you?) and most dangerous of all they may retain ownership of the domain. Besides – a good marketing company will help you find and select the best marketing name (we know the tricks), a name that could generate thousands in extra revenue for you. Know your domain name registration rights.

2) Hire a professional web developer
Some may ask; why should I spend the money to have a professional develop my web site? I have a computer, why can't I do it myself? You probably have a hammer and saw in your garage too but would you try to build your own house or would you hire a professional contractor. Keeping up with the rapid changes of Digital Media (aka website) marketing is a full time job. Others wonder why one designer is quoting $2,000 for a site while others are quoting $20,000. Remember, you usually (but not always) get what you pay for. Find an expert and use their expertise. Concentrate your efforts on running your business or handling your professional responsibilities.

3) ISP Internet Service Provider
Now that your site is developed, you need to house your site so people can access it. A word of caution, not all ISP's are equal. You want an ISP with quality equipment and back up systems (redundancy), excellent access, good service (these are computers - they are not perfect), solid reporting capabilities. You want easy email access when on the road and from your home computer. IMS-21 can and will handle this for you.

4) Search Engines & Directories
You will want your site to be readily found by the search engines. This is a job in itself that far too many web developers ignore at your peril. You must have a site designed that will work well for the key word phrase searches you need to be found under. This involves understanding how the both consumers and the search engines work. Knowing about keyword and keyword phrase rich copy and terms, html tags, title tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords (almost insignificant these days but every little bit helps), robot.txt files, 301 redirects, anchor name rich links, cross links, file names, image tags, inbound links, your basic text and a half dozen other tricks IMS-21 will make sure you get right.

5) Paid and free links
You need people to find your site, so you will want your site linked from as many places as possible. Some places, like the state and local chamber, offer free links, or for a small fee - you simply have to ask for it! Other sites sell links in their effective on-line directories, some are very worthwhile, most are not. We have been purchasing and tracking links for years now. We know which ones will work, and which ones will not. Maine Hotel Tip... these sites are the best Maine Hotel Lodging Directory Sites in Maine and Southern Maine.

6) Keep it current
Be sure you have a professional Internet presence and that all information on the site is always up to date and current. There is nothing worse than a dated site.

7) Social Media Marketing
You will want to have your developer set up a Blog for you and and spend time on the Internet being sure you are linked from the hundreds of social networking sites. You need to be sure you have a Google+ and Facebook Page at least and keep them current. You will want to consider a YouTube account, Twitter account, Pintrest page, Flickr page and more.

8) Don't forget what got you here
You must market your web site and actively monitor your results with great web tracking. But be sure to market your web site in all that you do! Business cards, letterhead, envelopes, signs, everything. As much as 50% of many Maine Hospitality Web Site visits come from someone typing in the name directly. This means they saw it in print somewhere first.

The above information was prepared by Greg Burke of IMS-21 (Integrated Marketing and Sales for the 21st Century. For additional information on web marketing or how to implement the above eight critical steps, call us at 207-468-5959 (in case you have not figured it out yet - this should have been your first step).

What Makes A Person Want To Come Back To Your Site?
According to one highly regarded online information company:

The ratings were based from 0 to 100% with the higher the percentage, the more important the issue.

Ease of Use/Navigation: 74%
Fast Download Time: 65%
Regularly Updated Information: 58%
Quality of Content: 57%
Organization of Content: 40%
Access to Customer Service: 40%
Quantity of Content: 30%
Search Engine at the Site: 25%
Front Page Layout: 20%
Fun: 19%
Look And Feel Of The Site: 18%
Inclusion Of Animated Graphics: 9%

Interestingly, if your site is an online store, then the two most important factors to your visitors are:

Easy Order Processing: 68%
Security Procedures: 65%