A website is an interesting tool for any business that wants to sell its products or services over the internet. While it gives your company a global presence, it also opens one more channel for enquiries to come in and sales to happen.
Your website is your company's face on the internet, and needs to be treated as such. Here are a few things that will help you.
Analyze the following before embarking on this mission: What is the aim or goal of getting your website on the net? What is your target market? What is their age group and gender? What are their preferences in terms of colors and content? What is their spending capacity in relation to the product / service that you plan to sell on your site? Will your site make it easy for them to ask questions / place an order / access customer service and how? Who are your competitors? What makes them your competition? Why are you better than your competitors? What do you want to convey to the world via the site?
Be very specific when you answer these questions, because these are going to be your guidelines for designing the website and writing its content.
The website design must be in line with the overall 'look and feel' of your company's marketing collateral (logo, brochure, letterhead etc.). At the same time, the design must not be "too heavy". A rule of thumb is that the webpage should load in 12 seconds. Bear in mind, that not every person in the world has a broadband connection. There are still some people out there with slower dial-up connections, who might be your potential customers. The average viewer is not going to wait for too long for your page to load. He will move on.
The website content should give out all the relevant information to the viewers, without being too prosaic. The average viewer is not going to stick around on your site reading reams of data, unless he is writing a thesis on it. On the net, people want to see the information right away, in one sweeping glance. Make sure the content is short and sweet and to the point.
A simple website is written in a language called 'Hyper Text Markup Language' or HTML. Of course, there are other languages, programs, and code that have come up for adding functionality and beauty to your site.
The content of the website must be optimized for search engines. They make it easy for you to reach your target market. Go through their search engine optimization tips. Respect them and their rules.
The search engines look at the content of your website for 'keywords'. These are the words you type into the 'search' box while looking for something specific on the net. Keep your keywords relevant to your business. Include them into the content of your site. Write the code for with your keywords accordingly. Keep the content straightforward. Don't overdo it with the keywords.
Use effective titles for each HTML page to make them easy to be searched. Don't put all your various products / services on one selling page - this will confuse the customers. Categorize them and give them a page of their own. Do provide all the relevant information about your products / services in a brief, concise, and informative manner. Ensure that your website does not have any broken links. If you are going to have your brochures, etc., available for downloading, then be sure that they keep up with the 'look and feel' of all your marketing collateral (including the site).
Going further, you can hire professionals in this field to do the job for you. They can suggest even more effective strategies to ensure that your aim is met. Keep your site structure flexible, so that you can change it when you increase / decrease the number of your products / services. Log on to various relevant forums or networking sites to promote your site. Always keep it up-to-date.