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Tips to consider when planning to design your own Web Site

Before you rush into the one-click options for designing your own website, you need to lay some foundation for the site that you want to build. A bit of guidance is provided below and while not in any particular order, the steps will help in establishing some measurable goals.

Web Plan
Planning your Website

Set a budget:

While hosting of your website may be free (usually promotional) you will still need to pay for things like a domain name and security, so do some research into the usual cost.  Remember, there may also be Pro and Deluxe packages available and you need to know how much you are likely to spend and what you will get for it.

Decide what your website is about:

This probably should come first, since it may influence how much you should be willing to spend.
However, you need to determine what your site is about: educational, interactive, eCommerce, blogs… to name a few. You are building a website around this idea, so you need to recognize this in order to plan properly.

Develop goals and milestones:

You need to set targets for your website. For example, the number of downloads per month of a trial version e-book available on your site.  Your website must accomplish something for you or it’s really not worth having.

Website Sitemap / Table of Contents:

It’s important to establish the Web Pages needed for your Website. This step will help determine what type of content should be displayed on your Website.

Site Content:

Now that you have decided on what your website is about, you need figure out and acquire content (or body) for your website.  A blog will need articles related to your websites purpose. You could decide to make money from your website, so you will need to subscribe to the appropriate affiliate programs.  You may need to have an ordering form to accept orders. You may need to add products; whatever your website’s focus, you need content.

Set up a time table:

Don’t just leave the task of building your website to when you are in the mood.  Slot in the times that you want each activity to be done.  This will help to keep you focused. Use project management tools like Trello.com to help you create tasks and stay on track.

Back-office Support:

Maintaining and updating your website is important.  You need to keep it fresh and current so that it will always be recognized by the search engines.  The decision as to how often and who will make changes and add data to your website should be determined well before hand, so that if it will incur cost or extra time, it can be factored in your budget.

Overarching all this info is the need for research.  Search the web for any other site that may be offering the product or service you have in mind. Do your research on your competition’s Websites. Also, you may need technical help and Nuts and Bolts Web Design may just work for you.

Do-It-Yourself Web Design Options

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Web Design Options

Web design embraces a range of specialties and competences to create and sustain or maintain websites. It involves things like search engine optimization, copy-righted software, special industry codes and interface design. The ordinary person would be completely lost in trying to design a website on their own and so the web industry has created some solutions in what we call Do-It-Yourself (DIY) web design templates.

Nuts and Bolts Web Design have taken this concept a bit further and will make the best combination of options to design a custom website that works for your Business or Non-Profit. Often times, it is ideal to work with a Web Design company to make the most out of your time and energy. Web Design companies like ours have various Programmers, Graphic Designers, Content Writers, PR pros & Videographers that can help bring your project to reality, on your terms. We are mainly a custom WordPress Development & maintenance/support shop.

When first starting your business or non-profit, it is important to create a Web presence. Budgeting will be tight when you’re starting off, so going with  D-I-Y Website builder software makes practical sense. Here are some of the web design templates and services that are available on the market that work beautifully with small businesses and non-profits.

Industrial worker with laptop.
DIY Web Design

Weebly’s:

Starting Weebly website is as easy as filling out a form on the home page, adding domain, whether a free Weebly,com domain or another, then go in to the editor page to build out your site. This website designer is easier to use than say, Moonfruits and many of the themes are the same as those found on WordPress. Weebly can also enable your site to work on mobile devices. You get unlimited pages, storage, bandwidth and two websites on the free version. The Pro version, which has monthly fees, has more offerings but you will need to decide based on your business requirements

 

WordPress:

Started in 2003 this WordPress has grown from a handful of users to the being the largest self-hosted blogging tool on the market. What began as a blogging system has developed into a complete content management system with the use of widgets, plugins and themes. Online resources such as mailing lists and forums and information on free or low-cost events is consistently shared with the entire WordPress community. Set up is simple whether you have your own domain name or not and you can choose the free option or one of the Pro (paid) choices available. Again, the plan you choose will depend on what your business is about and your personal goals.

Moonfruit:

This is a free editing and website host that offers a myriad of exciting and very detailed designs and editing tools. The website designed by Moonfruit are available in mobile HTML5, Flash or HTML, depending the device of the user. The likely challenge you will face is navigating the site editor, but getting started is fast and simple.

WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, etc: How to build an ECommerce website

I gave this presentation for the “eCommerce Sales and Marketing:Strategic Uses of Social Media Tools to Sell Your Product(s) and Market Your Business!”  sponsored by the Delaware Economic Development Office.

You can view the presentation here: http://prezi.com/vtkfr3cvdis6/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share 

You can download a .PDF version of the Presentation by clicking this link

WordPress, Shopify, Drupal, etc: How do I get started selling online, what’s required and what are my options?

What is E-Commerce?

e-com·merce
ˈēˌkämərs/
noun
noun: ecommerce
1. commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet.

Commercial Transactions include: B2B , B2C, mobile payments, utilities, in-app purchases, etc. Basically, anything that involves the exchange of money, over the Web.

This video gives a great explanation on how E-Commerce works:
 
 

How do I get Started Selling Online?

Your checklist for getting started on creating an eCommerce Website:

Choose a Product or Service to sell:

Do some brainstorming. If you would like to sell a product, go to www.alibaba.com and find someone who can help make your dream a reality. If you provide a Service, start with a Website that showcases your Portfolio of work, include a Quote Request form and look into ways to get your customers to pay you, on-line.

Choose where you want to sell your Product or Service:

Selling Products on-line means that you do in fact have the World at your fingertips and your customers can & will come from all over the World, to your Website (with Marketing in place, of course). Selling Services online is a bit different, mainly because your Service area will be limited. It’s important to determine a Target Market though, to make the most out of your Marketing $$$. There’s no sense in advertising a Plumbing business in California, that’s based in Delaware (unless, you can subcontract in other areas, this is common for IT and Web businesses).

Get set up on an on-line marketplace and/or build your own Website:

Most consumers will go to the Web first, to research your business and the competition. Do not discount the power of having a strong Web Presence.

Tips for a solid E-Commerce Website:

1. Have your Address, Phone # and Email Address / Contact form, very visible. Make it easy to reach you
2. Good Photos: A picture is worth a thousand words
3. Include a Video
4. Have engaging Product Descriptions
5. Simple Registration Process
6. Quick & Easy Checkout
7. Respond to Customer Service requests, quickly
8. Start an email subscriber list
9. Clearly state policies and terms, earn your Website visitors trust
10. BONUS: Experiment during the Holiday seasons with colors, design elements, etc
11. BONUS, BONUS: Offer coupons. Who doesn’t like getting a deal?

What are my Website options?

1. Online Marketplace like eBay, Amazon, Etsy (artists and crafts)
2. Build your own Website: WordPress, Shopify, etc

While you have the option to choose the DIY option, I suggest you still hire a Web Expert to help build your Website and help you market your Products or Services. Like you would hire a Contractor to build your physical store front, hiring a Web Expert to build your Website puts you into a professionals hands.

What’s required to sell online?

1. Product / Inventory List that’s organized to include “product attributes” such as “size” , “package-type”, “weight”, Color (“blue”), etc. An organized spreadsheet from Excel or QuickBooks would do fine.
2. Shopping Cart Software. There are TONS of options out there (show graphic of all shopping cart software). I suggest using WordPress or Shopify.
3. Shipping acct with Fedex, USPS, or UPS
4. Merchant acct with PayPal, your Bank, Merchant Processor, etc
5. Secure connection via a SSL Certificate, for secure transmission of credit / debit card information
6. You must know your Sales Tax rate, if you live in a State that charges Sales Tax and you have a physical presence in that State.
7. Analytics to track Website visitors, terms used to find your Website, etc. You need to know how and why people landed on your Website. Even better, knowing how and why they purchased from your Website.
8. A Marketing campaign. How do people know about your Products or Services, if they haven’t heard about you? Social Media, Print Advertising, Commercials, etc. You have to Market your business.
9. Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions. The Privacy Policy outlines how your customers data will be stored and used, while they have an account on your Website. Terms & Conditions are rules which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service.
10. FAITH. You gotta have it. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

What’s next?

E-commerce can be a very rewarding venture, but you cannot make money overnight. It is important to do a lot of research, ask questions, work hard and make business decisions based on facts learned from research. Don’t rely on “gut” feelings, do the leg work. Put in the time to experiment to see what does, and doesn’t work.

Using Roboform Everywhere to manage your online passwords

Remembering all the passwords needed to manage your online accounts can become a very nightmarish experience. I’ve gotten tired of clicking the “I Forgot my Password” link on probably every website where I have an account and started using RoboForm Everywhere. RoboForm remembers your passwords so you don’t have to! Just remember your one Master Password and RoboForm remembers the rest- it’s that easy!  This has seriously saved me a bunch of time.  Maybe it can save you some time as well.

roboform_everywhere_overview_imageUse RoboForm Everywhere if any of the following apply to you…

  • Would like to access your unlimited Logins, Identities, Bookmarks, and Safenotes on multiple desktops, laptops, tablets, USBs, or mobile devices.
  • Would like to keep all of your passwords and other data in sync between all of your computers and mobile devices.
  • Want a secure automatic backup copy of all your RoboForm data.
  • Would enjoy the convenience of managing your RoboForm data from anywhere at any time.
  • Want free upgrades to the latest version of RoboForm at all times.

Right now, you can get RoboForm Everywhere for $9.95 for the year. The normal cost is $19.95. Help yourself by saving the frustration that comes with remembering passwords!

-Demetrius