Small Business Web Development

Small business web development is something which unfortunately even to this day is rarely understood. There are two main schools of thought which surround it – those small business owners who look for the designer who has created the most attractive and professional websites in the past and those who want a website to get results.

I would suggest that as a small business owner you should be looking for a web developer who possesses the second skill. I don’t necessarily mean to find a developer who makes *ugly* sites, but it is important that you consider how you are going to benefit from your website before you start building it.

In other words you need ot start with the end in mind. Too many small business owners and web developers themselves focus firstly on making an attractive website with a real “wow” factor. Then they sit down to try and figure out how to market it effectively so that you actually get the end result you’re looking for – more customers or clients for your business without having to spend an arm and a leg to get them.

As I’m sure you can imagine, not only is this backwards but can also lead to frustration. So for best results, start out with the end in mind.

You need to find a professional in the realm of small business web development who specializes in building websites that get results – rather than just look nice. Find someone who knows how to design a site so that it will draw potential customers from the search engines each day and it won’t be too long before you start to notice some significant improvements in your profits as a result.

Web Development – The Key to Online Success

You know the scenario – a business is called up by a web development company and asked if they want a website. The decision maker ums and ahs and then says “Well, competitor A have a website and so do competitor B, so go on then I’ll have one, how much does it cost?” The web development company replies. The business says that they can only pay half that and asks what they get for half. The website company thinks a little then replies it will still look great but may lack some “extras” that you might not need.

The above scenario is typical of how many web development companies fail to recognise the importance of usability and accessibility enhancing functionality and more importantly fail to convince their customers of this requirement. Yes, the website must look good but never at the sacrifice of functionality. A visitor is more likely to come back again and again to a website that has rich, frequently updated content and excellent navigation. A general rule of thumb is that visitors should not have to think about navigation, it should be second nature.

Website visitors are not willing to spend more than a few seconds learning how to navigate a website because it is quite easy to just go back to the search engine to find another website to browse. So why don’t website development companies push the benefits of functionality? Why are so many customers so quick to sign off a website that merely looks good. Well, they are initially but then when the hits fail to come then they notice that something is wrong.

Perhaps some web designers take the easy option and design aesthetically pleasing websites but fail to add enhancing features because this would be more difficult.

So if you already have a website or are thinking of having a website designed for your business then think past looks and imagine how your visitors are going to feel when they are navigating your website.

Web Development De-Mystified

You know you need a site, or maybe that the one created in 2002 isn’t serving your purposes anymore. Now it’s 2010, we’re steadily approaching Web 3.0 (even though no one is exactly sure what that is) and suddenly there are literally gazillions of options available. Really. That’s the technical term. Gazillions.

Where to start?

The answer to that question might be where not to start. As a web developer with 12 years experience building and maintaining so many sites I’ve lost count, I feel fairly qualified to give advice. My first word of advice is don’t use your web hosting company’s free site builder tool. While I can’t honestly speak for ALL of them, I can speak for MOST of them and they’re usually poopy. (Again, that’s the technical term.)

Why? Because they’re cookie cutter technologies that usually don’t have decent SEO (search engine optimization) functions built in, the templates are often straight out of the 90’s and when it comes time to build a REAL website, you will likely have to scrap everything you’ve done. That’s because these proprietary systems are often quite unfriendly when it comes to how they write code — they don’t play well with others. I’ve had to rebuild quite a few sites from clients who started out with one of these free template sites and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.

The second major piece of advice is don’t use Flash. Unless you want a site that’s like a big fancy store that people can peer through the windows but no one can enter, don’t use this Google-prohibitive technology. While Google claims to be able to read the content inside Flash movies, they simply cannot be optimized for search results in any meaningful way.

Finally, the third and final suggestion for today (carpal tunnel is setting in)… find a human being to work with. Yes, there are other types of free awesome wow that’s totally amazing site building thingies online, but chances are, if you find someone to actually talk to, you’ll get a lot more out of it, for what should be, but are not always, obvious reasons. Simply put, web designers are humans with real experience. They can recommend new technologies to you faster than you can find them on your own, they have tons of experience working with other clients and will often see hidden opportunities available to your business than you’d ever dream of.

So the conclusion is, robotic free template site junk = bad. Real human beings that might cost more but deliver beyond your expectations = good.