Web Design Services in Houston, Texas – How to accomplish the task at hand!
I have seen the “art” of Web Design morph from a simple “business card” design in 1997 to encompass a complete “web site” that can be used for marketing, sales, service and support. In 1998, I remember thinking, “One day all of our product manuals will be accessible online”. Then it was, “Let’s answer all the support questions ever asked us with an FAQ site to keep the calls to support to a minimum.” Next was “What can we sell online?”. This was the basic mentality at the time as we poked and prodded this new “Internet” toy and brainstormed on all it could be.
Web Design Services – Here is what you can accomplish today!
Now, 21 years later, we still see basic sites requested but the number of requests for fully functional, interactive sites is increasing exponentially. Business owners recognize the importance of Internet Marketing and operating web sites that allow their customers to interact directly with staff to get answers instantly, leading to sales, increased retention or excellent customer service. Additionally, the tools available today are making the design and automation of eCommerce and other specialized functions much easier to deal with on both the design and user interface side.
Free Worksheet to discover your “WHY”!
What unique value proposition can you bring to the table?
What is your message and how do you share that message online?
When initially planning the design of a new web site, many questions must be answered by the client before a single stroke of the keys can occur in the actual “construction” of the site. The most important question is what is the WHY behind your need! Please do the exercise below before engaging our design/development team. It will save you and us a lot of time, aggravation and money. You can help develop your defined plan to succeed!
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Click on the tabs below and do some discovery on the WHY behind your want and need. This is a great exercise to go through even if you feel you already know your “why”.
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Development Questionnaire or “WHY to Build, Design and Develop a Web Site” – by Web Designer/developer, Steven Carr.
Whether you are creating a new website from scratch or remodeling an old one, you need to have a clear vision of what you want in a website. This questionnaire will help you clarify your thoughts so that you, and your web designer, can create the best website for your business.
Complete it as best you can. If a question does not apply, just skip it. There won’t be a test. It is a lot of work, but the more effort you put into this exercise, the happier you will be with the finished product.
I strongly recommend clicking here for a printable copy or copying and pasting this into a Word Document or Note pad so you can create note space and additional comments as you think in detail about your project.
1. What is the purpose behind the development of your web site? Is it a…..
____ A Business Card Site (a site that contains brief introduction to your company)
____ An Brochure site (a site that provides information about your message and about your company solutions)
____ An E-commerce Site (a site that sells items directly or through affiliate links)
2. Reasons for building a site. Rank them in order of importance to you.
_____To provide improved customer service.
_____To sell a product or products. (E-commerce)
_____To build familiarity with potential customers.
_____To provide general and/or detailed product info
_____To build customer loyalty.
_____To make an announcement.
_____Display my business in a favorable light
_____Develop a list of qualified prospects
_____Encourage clients/customers to contact us
_____Brand our corporate name
3. What are your goals in having a site?
List both short term and long-term goals. Define the criteria that will determine if the web site is a success.
4. Write a short description of your business.
Clearly and concisely describe what you offer, to whom you offer it and why they should choose you.
What does your company do?
What are the features of your products and/or services?
Is the company local, regional, national or international?
What areas do you want to specifically appeal to?
5. Who is your target market?
Be specific. This will help you determine which site style will appeal to most of your visitors.
6. What is your marketing plan?
Underline any of the following terms that apply to your vision of your site. Do you have design elements in mind that portray these terms to you and your visitors?
Here is a list. informative, lucrative, attractive, serene, honest, mature, family, scholarly, educational, useful, popular, clean, colorful, whimsical, humorous, serious, profitable, unusual, cozy, clear-cut, warm/fuzzy, warm, supportive, innovative, fast-moving
7. What is the most important message you wish to convey to your Internet visitors?
8. If you want an E-commerce site, what type of e-commerce solution do you require?
- Full e-commerce shopping cart with automated real time credit card processing, integrated with backend database.
- Multi-page secure order form with shopping cart, visitors can pick products while continuing to look at the site, change their order, preview order and submit on-line. Order sent as e-mail or downloaded via FTP from the server.
- Flat file page, non-interactive. Visitors must print and fax order or phone order in.
- Single page secure order form that sends each order as an e-mail.
9. List all of the methods for payment options (money order, check, internet check, Pay Pal and other various credit cards, etc.) you will accept.
10. Do your customers have buying seasons?
Does the site need to be altered for each season? What will you do to entice shoppers in the off seasons?
11. Do you have a brick and mortar or other off-web location or contact point (like a mail order catalog)?
How do you see the web site and off-line business working together? How will you integrate the web site into the business on a daily basis?
12. Who are your competitors?
List some of your competitors web site URLs.
13. What do you like and dislike about your competitors websites?
14. What makes you better than your competition?
Why should someone use your site or purchase from you instead of them? What unique content do you provide that other sites do not? How can you add value to your products and services? (free bonuses, lifetime warranty, free shipping and handling, free upgrades, etc.)
15. If you do not already have a domain name, be sure to search the link and choose one with your most important keyword in the URL. ONLY PURCHASE a DOT COM. MAKE IT GENERIC, Your Name if available or contain key words that describe what you do. Your domain name should also be easily identifiable and easy to explain over the phone and print on a business card. Please read my blog on domain name domination.
16. Have you thought of or developed a slogan/catch phrase for your business?
17. Do you have a Logo?
This is important for branding purposes. Do you have company colors? Your company logo and colors as well as the website URL and your slogan should be used on every bit of information relating to your company.
18. A well laid out site has no more than 6 to 8 topic links to interior pages on the main page.
The following are typical pages and included information. Cross off anything you feel does not fit your vision of your site.
- Home Page – do you want a splash page?
- Products and/or Services. Links on this page might be:
- Product Description/specifications / demos/samples
- Order Form
- Testimonials/ Galleries or reviews
- Shipping Information
- Purchasing/ Shopping Cart/Dealer List
- Product features & benefits. Tips and Tricks
- Parts list, schematics, assembly instructions
- Warranty & Return Policy
- Informational Pages
- Guest Book
- About Us/Contact Us
- Free stuff – screensavers, wallpaper, contests, polls. referral form (Giving your visitor a reason to return.)
- News and Events or other regional information
- Glossary of terms or Interesting Facts
- Customer Service
- Book Store
19. How can your visitor contact you?
How to you plan to encourage feedback? Do you want to use a survey form to gather information from your customers or visitors?
If so what questions would you like to ask and can you offer something in return for filling out the form (a free report, discount, etc.)?
20. Do you have an existing web site?
What do you like or dislike about it?
21. List any related web sites that provide services or information useful to your target audience.
Reciprocal links with these sites will be beneficial to both your customers and your ranking in the search engine.
22. Do you need domain registration and/or an ISP to host the site?
What level of hosting will be required?
What is your budget for the completion of the web site and yearly maintenance?
If you do not already have a domain name, be sure to choose one with your most important keyword in the URL.
Click here to see if the name has been taken.
Your domain name should be easily identifiable and easy to explain over the phone and print on a business card.
23. Do you have any custom graphic needs or will you be able to supply all of the images required?
24. What types of components other than still photos and text do you want to include (e-commerce, affiliate programs, virtual reality images, java applets, backend database integration, survey forms, feedback forms, opt-in newsletter management, referral forms, etc.)?
25. What type of opt-in mail gathering do you want to use?
26. What type of security is required for the web site?
Will there be sensitive files that need to be protected? Do you need a password protected area for dealers, members and/or downloads? Do you need any digital delivery systems to individually password protect each customers download?
27. Please list and gather any existing materials and information that will help design your site. Here are some examples. Feel free to add any special needs or components required that are not listed.
- Photos in digital format
- Business cards
- Product shots
- Product samples
- Press releases
- Price and part lists
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Shipping and handling charges and constraints
- Warranty policy
- Return policy
- Testimonials and/or endorsements
- Senior Staff Bios
- Case studies
- Photos of yourself, staff and location
- Transcripts of interviews
- Industry recognition
28. By now, you should have a clear picture of your website, your message flow and fulfilling your customers information needs. Next we need to identify and develop the keywords to use in your content to best position your web site in the search engines.
Call me at 713-553-6212 to get started!
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What is SEO?
It is Search Engine Optimization. What does this mean to you and your web site?
Well, you want your web site to appear in the search engines near or at the top of a search relevant to what your company offers.
You can pay to be at the top of the paid responses as well, which we do on a limited basis. (We find only 2-3% of the web site visitors click on the paid responses.)
What does it mean to be on the top of the search results? It should translate into more traffic, activity and CONVERSIONS or sales! This is vital to the success of your web site. If you are selling widgets, you want to have lot’s of traffic and lot’s of online sales. Service companies are a little different. We just want to motivate you to call or email us for our services.
Good SEO or “Whitehat” SEO techniques focus on the the right content and integration of “key words” or phrases into the content that is relative to searches leading potential clients to your site. Fortunately, there are excellent tools available that can show us the searches being made and what they are. This enables us to integrate these search phrases into the pages of your content.
The most effective SEO is developed at the begining of the web site development and prior to the initial submission of your website to the search engines for indexing.
Call me at 713-553-6212 for how I can help you rise to the top of your online market.
Need a domain name? I recommend GoDaddy.com. They offer a discount club option to those who own multiple domains. It makes it worth while if you have 50 or more.
Digital Marketing has taken on a very different meaning over the last 10 years. It encompasses many methods of using the Internet to get your messaging into the eyes of potential customers, giving you the opportunity to convert a lead into a client.
Many companies today employ “Social Media” staff as part of the overall marketing group. Social Media is one piece of the successful puzzle of “Digital Marketing”. Social media, search engines, mobile phones, videos, content writing, online advertising, etc… are all part of the mix.
We have a tried and true philosophy addressing Digit Marketing…”Be ready to embrace CHANGE!” What is hot today maybe not tomorrow. It all depends on your market focus. There are proven ways to get results but there is always something new to learn right around the corner. So, you either hire a full time “digital marketing” employee or hire it done.
Automation software is making the job easier every day, but is not the panacea for everything you need to do. Some is just doing the work. I know. I do it sometime 12-14 hours a day.
Click Here for more on Digital Marketing or give me a call and let’s talk. 713-553-6212