This New Year’s Resolution: Getting Online Without Getting Duped – 10e20 Website Design Outlines the Basics for 2005

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Helpful article for all businesses who are looking to develop a new web presence in 2005. Through simple and informative tips - 10e20, LLC outlines the DOs and DON'Ts of getting your company online and SUCEEDING!

Finally – some peace and quiet. The rush of the Holidays has finally settled and your pockets can once again serve as a suitable holder for lint and other forms of questionable material. While, ironically, for most of us the New Year signifies an end and not a beginning, at least when it comes to large scale expenditures, for business owners the New Year means a fresh new budget and prospects as to how to use that budget to grow their business in the coming year.

Growing a business can take on many forms; establishing visibility through the use of press releases, targeting your promotions at the most likely consumers, and orchestrating events such as “Grand Sales” and giveaways to get customers in the door. Have you ever heard the term, “You have to spend money to make money”? Well, it is never more true than when it comes to your business. Traditional marketing and public relations cost money, and lots of it. What many businesses are beginning to realize, however, is that the internet can serve as a viable option for growing their business and is probably the best way to “spend less money to make more money”.

According to recent reports, the incentives for taking your business online can be quite substantial. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while traditional retailers have had to make due with a disappointing holiday shopping season last year, online shopping transactions were up 21% in comparison to the same period in 2003, raking in $6.8 billion between Thanksgiving and the following Sunday. Plus, E-commerce habits are spread fairly even across adult age groups up to 65, so there is business to be had for company’s targeting practically any age group. And with online retail sales projected to total $269 billion in 2005 (U.S. Department of Commerce), going hi-tech is looking better and better to many businesses.

These are stats that will probably have business owners who have never even thought about taking their business online seriously considering making website design and marketing a part of their New Year’s resolution. But for those who are technologically challenged and wouldn’t know the difference between HTML and Hotmail, the thought of taking their business online can be a pretty daunting one and while there are scores of companies out there more than willing to get technical on your behalf in exchange for a sizeable bite out of your budget, choosing which one will deliver the goods when it comes to attracting legitimate sales to your website can be even more daunting than the thought of tackling the job yourself. In fact, according to Chris Winfield, President of well-known New York based website design and search marketing firm 10e20, LLC, “Much of our business actually comes from clients who need to redesign their website after the original firm hired to do it either did not offer up a good finished product or did not tailor the website so that eventual updates could be made to things such as pricing, product line, seasonal themes, etc., leaving the client in need of a complete redesign of their original website.”     Winfield, whose company promotes trustworthy web design principles, also notes that sometimes, sadly, companies end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for substandard work by “professionals” working out of their bedroom. So, before you buckle yourself in, and start on a ride down the information highway with a web design or marketing firm that will have you spending double the amount you intended, there are a few things you should keep in mind before signing on the dotted line:    

DO …

Evaluate your website needs; e.g. ballpark how many pages your site will need, if you’ll be needing ecommerce solutions or will the website just serve as a showpiece for your company, whether you will need to incorporate marketing strategies such as search engine marketing, pay-per-click advertising, or banner ads to gain increased visibility for your company. You don’t have to know all the answers to these questions but you should know what each of these terms (pay-per-click, search engine marketing, etc.) means before approaching a web design firm. So, bottom line, do your homework.

DON’T …

Go into any website design project without knowing basically what you want your website to accomplish and what you want your users’ experience to be on the site. Often times, business owners as well as the designers hired to create their website forget about the entity that matters most: the user, surfer, and, ultimately, the customer. Any website design project must be geared toward the users needs; if your business targets consumers of holistic products who will also look to your website for information about the industry, you had better make sure that it is easy for them to move easily from your shopping cart system to the editorial section or else, being the typical impatient, petulant creatures that shoppers tend to be, they will become frustrated and leave.

DO …

Be wary of companies offering deals that seem too good to be true because, unfortunately, the truth is that your first impression will probably turn out to be correct.

DON’T …

Be taken-in only by flashy designs and animation; while they might look good, that alone will not attract visitors. An ideal website design firm understands how important it is incorporate search engine friendly design and text into your website. In fact, website designs based on heavy imagery can actually hinder visitors with slow modem speeds from even getting in to see your website. And, again, just like in the real world, when shoppers have so many options to choose from, they won’t waste time with a store that won’t even let them in the front door.

DO …

Go with a company you can trust to perform the services promised in the timeline established and take the time to look over their past work and list of clientele; the best way to judge a web design firm, or any firm for that matter, is by looking at the work they’ve done for other clients. Chances are if they don’t have anything to dazzle you with, then you won’t be dazzled at the end of your project.

DON’T …

Go with a company that makes you pay for their proposal; reputable web design firms are more than willing to give you a free showcase of their talents and an in-depth explanation as to how they will go about completing your project.

As in any business venture, awareness is key. While the Internet offers many opportunities from which your business can benefit greatly, choosing the wrong design firm can put your online venture in jeopardy before you even get online. So, before signing on to any web design project, do your homework, ask questions and, most importantly, go with a company you can trust.

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Checkey-Ann Beckford
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