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You have a website. Now what?

Once your web site is “live”, you need to let people know about it. There are millions of web sites out there – you need to announce yours.

We build sites that place well in the search engines. In addition to this free advertising, consider adding a links section, in which the sites of the same kind as yours can exchange links with you. We can install a linking script that will handle the entire process automatically – you don’t have to lift a finger. Link exchange will also improve your web site’s search engine placement.

Think of your web site as one piece in your complete business promotion effort. Include your new web site address everywhere – your business cards, mailers, commercials.

Consider spending some time and/or money on developing a strong Internet advertising campaign. This can include paid advertising in search engines (such as Google AdWords), online classifieds such as Craigslist.org and Backpage.com, and social networking on Myspace, Facebook or Twitter (social neworking is free, but expect to spend a lot of time maintaining and building your online persona, offering real, valuable information in your field). Hire a designer to set up your Facebook page or Twitter account with custom backgrounds, sections and images, and find the first dozen or more “friends” and follow exchanges. Add the social buttons on your site too – Likes and Tweets are hard advertising currency for modern Internet marketing. Consider creating a discount you can give away on Facebook in exchange for a Like.

Building a strong Internet advertising and/or branding campaign does cost money, but it’s still much cheaper than a print, radio or television campaign of comparable advertising value.

You can still use print advertising (newspapers, Yellow Pages). Ultimately, your advertising costs will go down, as you can now publish all the details in your web site and leave the newspaper ad for the bare basics.

Still, don’t expect a million visitors the day your web site goes up. Search engines take anywhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months to list all of your pages. Building your visitor numbers is an ongoing effort.

Don’t trust web designers that promise you a million in a week, whether it’s dollars or visitors – web business is just like any other business; there is no free lunch. We will make sure to let you know what to expect, and to have a realistic flight plan for your site’s success. Our web design contract includes a cost estimate and a deadline we stick toWe deliver what we promise.




Updates and maintenance

After your web site is built, expect periodic updates. Sites that offer useful and interesting content and/or services that are often updated are the most successful ones. Think about this – how can you entice your site visitor to come back? Search engines such as Google also like useful content and text pages, and will rank you higher for it.

We can build you a web site you can update yourself with a minimal computer knowledge, or you can pay someone (or us) to update your pages. Having a “News” or “Blog” section is almost a must these days. Adding a discussion forum or reviews if appropriate is a good way to get “free” site content – your visitors will chat about your products and/or services and update your web site for you :-).

This is one of the many reasons we recommend a WordPress based website – if you can update your site in your sleep (or at least, your slippers), it’s more likely that you’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Updates are what makes a difference between a live site and a “dead” one!




Domain name & hosting

We can help you find a domain name that “sticks”. It should be related to your business, or showcase your name. Ideally, it would also contain the most important keyword related to your business for purposes of search engine optimization – however, this is not worth having a long domain people will have trouble spelling out right. The biggest, most popular sites out there all have a short and simple domain (think Amazon or Twitter).

The easiest way to get one is to let us register it with the same company that will be hosting your web site. A domain name needs to be occasionally renewed – pay your domain fee on time (you’ll be notified)! If you are late, you’ll lose it – this is a disaster for a popular, established web site.

A host is a company that keeps your web site on their computers and makes it available on the Internet. Expect to pay a small monthly hosting fee (about $8/month). We can help you find an excellent host with a good reputation, low cost & lots of value-added extras.*

Free or super-low cost hosts are NOT recommended. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and a great looking web site that is often off line, or that gets hacked is of no value to you.

*Please, please, MAKE SURE YOU PAY YOUR HOSTING BILL! Over 70% of our design customers (some with web sites that had cost up to $8,000 to build) lose their web sites simply because they forgot to pay their hosting company. We WILL NOT have a backup of your web site two or five years after we built it unless you’re under the current maintenance contract – especially if you have a dynamic site you’ve been adding content to yourself.

Hosting bill is like your rent – you’ll have to pay it on a regular, ongoing basis. If you don’t pay, you can’t come back a year later and expect the landlord (hosting company) to have saved all your furniture (your web site pages).

If you’re not sure you’d be able to keep on top of all the bills and other maintenance, we’ll be happy to do it for you for a small fee, but we’ll need to know so in advance.




What is the purpose of your web site? (Site planning)

This question may sound funny, but many people don’t have a clear idea of what exactly their web site is supposed to do. Remember, a fun and great looking site with many “bells and whistles” that is slow to load and very difficult to find your way around will make people leave and never come back. The main purpose of any web site is its usability and content.

Is it a commercial web site? Plan for it to be straightforward, clear and easy to get around. Find your competition and learn from them – what is it that you like about their web sites, and what doesn’t work. Bring some samples of the sites you like.

What makes you stand out? Think about your business strengths, and plan to showcase them. Include a mission statement and information about your business (“About us” page), to build customer trust and confidence.

Determine what pages/sections you need, and how important each is.




Bazaar Foundation

Bazaar Foundation

Bazaar Foundation for the Arts is a San Francisco non-profit benefiting local musicians and visual artists. The web site focuses on the fundraising events, and for that purpose, we created the Homepage event slider as well as the featured Event box. Event calendar is custom designed for the ease of use, viewing convenience and the visual appeal.

Website




Glow Herbalgenic

Glowherbalgenic U.S.A.-Home Page

Glowherbalgenic offers high-end natural cosmetics & herbal medicines. Client wanted an online store with a strong multicultural appeal and ease of use, integrated with PayPal merchant services. Design included development in Chinese and English. We handled site and shopping cart setup from start to finish, including PayPal account setup, email setup and hosting & domain name purchase.

Website




Danny Dechi Comedy

Danny Dechi Comedy

Promotional web site for a unique San Francisco comedian, actor, writer & pencil musician. Client’s enthusiastic off-the-wall comedy style is reflected in the design which includes a custom photo & video gallery, as well as a custom event calendar, Facebook and Twitter integration and contact form.

We’ve also created numerous printed promos, have shot and edited videos, and done event and marketing photography for this client. Client’s Twitter page has also been created and customized by us.

Promotional Materials

Website




Science Tutor

Science Tutor

Science tutoring service. Client wanted a small but highly visible web site that would showcase client’s qualifications & encourage visitors to think about tutoring.

Work included web design, copy writing, photography, SEO and a full advertising campaign including Google AdWords & other online advertising, and printed promotional materials.

Several years later, customer is still getting tutoring clients without any additional marketing.

ALL promo materials

Website




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Marcus Forwarding

Marcus Forwarding

A large online home decor & apparel mall. All material created from scratch, from client’s products. Custom pages & categories developed, and about 200 products entered by hand. Extensive photo editing, shopping cart customization and project coordination over several months.*

*The shopping cart software developer asked to showcase this site as one of the best and best looking implementations of their software.

Currently offline.