Website Planning

When having us custom design your website, careful planning along with providing the following information for your website will have a definite effect on how your website looks, functions, meets your needs, and ultimately how much it will cost.

Define the reason for having a website. Is it to provide information for customers and clients; or is it to sell products or services? Will a shopping cart and merchant account be needed?

Who will be visiting your website? What age group is most likely? These answers will help determine how your website should be presented and designed.

Will the website need to be constantly updated? Real Estate websites would need to have daily, weekly or monthly changes to keep the listing up to date.

Specify a color scheme and overall theme along with any other aspects of style you prefer.

Providing the best original art work available for your company's or products' logo and trademarks will assist the design department in the construction of the website. Provide digital or paper photographs of your products, store, office, employees, etc.

To organize the information in your website, plan which pages and sub-pages you will need. Some examples of pages to correspond with the navigational buttons are: "About Us", "Products", "Services", "Store Locations", "Portfolio", "FAQ", "Testimonials", "Order Form", "Links", "Contact", and etc. Categorize your sub-buttons under main buttons such as "Products" or "Services". A flow chart which demonstrates the hierarchical organization of your categories including any links between pages is very helpful.

Although your website is very much like a company brochure, especially in it's content, Internet functionality brings a whole new dimension to the presentation. Any object (a word, phrase, or image) on one page can be linked to another object on another page within your website, (or to a variety of other places and objects). As such, your presentation is totally relational, but, it is a presentation, like a slide show with buttons on each slide that can call up any other slide in your presentation.

Taking the time to plan ahead will help to determine the navigational buttons and links needed to control the flow of your website information.

Have your text content for the web pages well thought out and on disk or e-mailed to us. You can have the text in a "Word" document or plain text; this will save time and money when constructing the website.

Have the proper contact information in as many ways as possible along with the hours your business is open. List your company's physical address(s), mailing address, phone numbers (especially toll free numbers), fax number, pagers, home numbers and mobile numbers when applicable, e-mail address(s), etc.

Area information and links - Businesses which are regional in their nature (such as real estate) or otherwise would benefit from the promotion of amenities in their geographic area, should either include such selling points about the area within their website, or provide links from their website to other sites where this information can be found such as the local Chamber of Commerce website, or State Government sites, etc. Provide any descriptive information, maps and/or photographs you want included relating to your geographic area, or, provide the domain name or Internet address of any sites you want to link to from within your site.

Make a list of as many domain names as you like. QuestMatrix will check and report the availability of the names within your list. Domain name selection - Your domain name will be your address on the Internet. It should be easy to remember and clearly identify your company, product, or service.

Your domain name is more important for directing people outside of the Internet to your site through newspaper, radio, billboard, direct mail and other forms of advertising.

A domain name can be a combination of letters and numbers, and, words can be separated with dashes (-), but, other symbol characters are not acceptable. Domain names begin with "www." (World Wide Web) and may end with ".com" (commercial), ".net" (network), or ".org" (organization). For example: www.tropicalmarine.com (using company name) or www.honda-outboard.com (using a product brand). You may register more than one domain name to use as an Internet Address, all pointing to the same website location.

Search Engine Optimization. The title bar description is very important; many search engines pull key words from the title bar. An example is "QuestMatrix - Website Builder - Custom Design - Hosting & Email"

Keywords inserted into the html code are also important for many of the different search engines. You can create a list of keywords (words people are most likely to enter in their search request) then create short phrases using as many of those keywords as possible. For example, if you are a real estate company your keywords would include: Real Estate, Realtor, Property, Acreage, Ranches, Lots, Home, Homes, Houses, Buildings,City1, City2, State, etc.

A brief description of your website is also needed so it can be inserted into the website for the search engines. Main keywords should be used in the description.

The following information came from Google; the top search engine available.

Google finds sites through a process known as "crawling" the web. This involves robot software that follows hyperlinks from site to site. Google currently looks at more than 3 billion URL's during the crawl. The process may take several weeks to complete.

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

The best way to ensure Google finds your site is for your page to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. Google's robots jump from page to page on the Web via hyperlinks, so the more sites that link to you, the more likely it is that we'll find you quickly.

Design and Content Guidelines:

Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.

Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.

Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.

Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't recognize text contained in images.

Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate.

Check for broken links and correct HTML.

Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).

Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

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