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Having a business website is as common as having a business card. A website should be more than pleasing to the eye. It should be designed to fulfill a specific purpose. If your site doesn’t do its job, then you’re wasting bandwidth, money, and space. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to design your site with a goal in mind.

It’s quite easy to get sidetracked when designing a website. If you’ve hired a web design firm, their objective may be to highlight their technical abilities and to use your site as a showpiece. Or if you’re the boss, you may be more concerned with cost instead of building an effective product.

Your needs and concerns are important, but the needs and concerns of the business must come first. From a business perspective, what must the website accomplish in order to be successful? When you answer this question, you’ll know where to start.

Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can focus on how to accomplish it. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Make a Name – A website enables you to get the name of your business or product out into the world. This can be accomplished with a multi-page website, or even a simple one-pager. A large international company may not want to take this approach, but it’s good for small businesses or organizations that want to keep things simple.

A one-page website has to attract immediate attention. Visitors must know the product or service you offer within ten seconds of landing on the page. They should know the name of your business, what you do, how to contact you, and how to find you.

A one-page site is information driven. There shouldn’t be a heavy emphasis on graphics. Even if your business is visually oriented, take it easy with the graphics. Two or three strategically placed graphics can be enough to get your point across.

2. Design with Profit In Mind – Advertising allows you to earn residual income from your website. The more popular your site, the easier it will be to sell advertising, and the more money you’ll make. However, this isn’t a fast money scheme.

Advertising doesn’t pay extremely well unless you’re Yahoo, Google, or Amazon. But it’s still an option. Another money-making option is to enable visitors to buy directly from your site. If your business involves selling a product, include a shopping cart to entice visitors to buy. Visitors are more likely to buy when it’s easy and hassle free.

Companies also use the internet to save money on call center operations, and to reduce the number of clerical errors. Customers have more control over the ordering process. You can also save distribution and printing costs by including your catalog online.

This is only the tip of a large iceberg. There are hundreds of design ideas that can help you build a successful website. The important thing is to set a goal for your website, and stick with it.

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