Frequently Asked Questions: Web Design, Development, Hosting and SEO
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1. I’ve got a website why don’t I have customers?
This is a very common question, unfortunately. Reading through newspapers, magazines and companies marketing materials can give you exposure to the “vast” marketplace that is the Internet. Of how many millions or billions of people are on the Internet and how much money their spending on the Internet. That’s great, but think about how many people there are in your city/town and if you had a retail store in the wrong location – how many people would actually go into your store – not many, maybe even none.
The Internet, or “web” is just that a web of computers with links here and there and search engines trying to figure out what’s her and there and people browsing. How are they going to find your website? How did you find this website? Ok, if it wasn’t a specific need and you knew USWEBWORX, or you didn’t see any of our marketing material you probably wouldn’t be here. This website has been up for a few years and how long have you been on the Internet? And you never read this page before?
Having a website does not in itself generate customers unless you’re lucky and you have a product that is so unique and in such demand that people are going crazy to get to you – in which case you’re probably making millions even without the Internet. Otherwise you’re website will be like most websites, unknown unless there is a marketing campaign or “draw” to bring them in.
Having a website should be part of your marketing campaign, your business image and created to target your customers and marketing efforts (including optimized for web searches engines!).
2. I’d like lots of great graphics and flash on my website – what’s wrong with that?
Your website should match your image and marketing campaigns and material. It should be targeted towards your customers. So the first question we ask is “Who is your customer?”. If your answer is “the general public or anybody” then we have a problem with “lots of graphics and flash”.
First Problem: There are many people still on dial-up or slow connections and all that graphics and flash gets real annoying for them to download. Chances are that you’ll be lucky if they visit your site more than once, and if they actually get to your “ordering” page.
Second Problem: Search engines. In line with the first question if you want people to actually find your web site then the search engines must be able to see your site. Currently search engines can’t read the words that are in graphics and most flash. So the search engines will have no idea what your web site does and may even stop looking at it!
Third Problem: This is a minor problem and if the web design is done correctly, with your input, can be dealt with. This third problem is Relevancy. How many website have you go to that have this wonderful flash intro that you have to wade or wait through to get to what you want? Now will you go back to that site and wait through it again or is it a “Gee that’s neat” and you won’t want to wait through the intro again. That’s why many flash sites have a “skip intro” link or button on the screen. The first time is wonderful, beyond that it is annoying.
3. What should my website look like?
Many customers come to us with how they want their website to look great, or they ask us about ideas. Your website should look exactly like the rest of your marketing material. A single image to present to your customers. Your business cards, your brochures, your advertising, and your website should all deliver the same look and the same message. It typically takes repeated exposures by customers to a single message before that message is remembered. If you present multiple images then you’ve lost the exposure and probably will be forgotten.
Same logo, same words, same delivery, same products, same service.
If you don’t have consistency then your potential customer doesn’t know what you do or just think you do everything to “make a buck” then they won’t believe you, won’t trust you and probably won’t buy from you! You have to deliver a consistent message, a consistent way, consistently – web, print, and in person. Who are you, what do you do, and can you help me?
4. What’s a “hosting company” and why do I care?
A hosting company is the company that “hosts” your website. That means the files, programs and graphics that make up your website have to sit on a web server computer that is connected, hopefully by very high speed”, to the Internet.
You care about this because they have all your marketing material that can be presented to millions or billions of people on the Internet and if they are having problems – so are you! Problems such as server crashes with no spare server, communication line crashes with no backup connection to the Internet, drive crashes with no backup of your website! Technicians taking a vacation and no backup for when you need help or they have a problem. All these things translate into your website is unavailable. How professional do you look if a customer wants to go to your website to “check you out”, one of the most common uses of websites, and if it’s not available – – – – –
Do you have the passwords to your website. Yes there are passwords needed to access the hosting companies servers where your website is stored. Many web developers don’t even tell their customers about this. You should always have a copy of the current passwords locked away just in case your web designer moves back to Idaho, or Iowa or …. (happens more often that you think – unfortunately we end up with a lot of customers this way, we call it our business rescue services – recovering a website after the original developer has disappeared). Read More
5. Who owns your domain name?
A domain name is simply your Internet name – eg; uswebworx.com as opposed to your business name, eg: Thor Marketing. The person registering the domain name -owns it, and I mean owns it, they can move it, shut it down, make it do other things. I usually register the names for my clients but I also host my clients and will not host on another server, it is in my contract that I own the name and should they want it transferred to them they have to ask and accept responsibility to make the commitment to pay when it is due.
So when you’re having a website created and a new domain name, make sure that you own the domain name and not your web developer. As we stated in the previous question many web developers disappear and oops – there goes your domain name too. Or how about the story of the developer who blew a fuse and switched the domain over to point to a nasty web site – now what will your customers think?
Make sure you own your domain name and you have your passwords to your site.
If you are the forgetful type the service I use allows for you to own it and me to maintain it, but when it comes down to last few days of billing and you’ve not paid me I will let it go or if I believe in you I will renew it and hold it until I am paid in full!
More coming soon!