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Why You Need A Web Site

Small Business1Small Business"I have a small business with just a couple of employees and I don’t think my product can really be sold online. Do I need a web site?"

In this day and time, there is very little that can’t be sold over the Internet. There are over 20 million people shopping online, buying everything from movies to cars to real estate property. Research predicts that revenues will be over $200 billion in 2004 and will grow at a rate of 30 to 50 percent over the next few years. These numbers alone should be enough to persuade you that you and your business should be online.

Regardless of whether you sell your product online, you should at the very least have an online presence so that customers, potential employees, partners and even potential investors, can easily and quickly find more information about your company, the products and services you have to offer, as well as how to contact you.

website requirementsWebsite RequirementsBut Can I Afford a Web Site?

Given the competition and current market trends, you can’t afford NOT to. Think of your web site as your new marketing tool, which, when applied correctly, will generate a return on investment. Your competition is probably already online, and you need to use every possible avenue just to keep up. You should look at having a web site as an investment, in you and your company’s future.So whatever time or money you currently spend on marketing, supplementing it with a web site is probably a good idea. Your site will help you expand geographically, and compete on a much larger scale.

Leveling the Playing Field

One of the most wonderful things about the Internet is that it has helped to level the playing field when it comes to competition with the bigger companies. With a professional looking web site, your small business can project the image, and professionalism of a much larger company. It’s also a good signal to potential customers that you take things seriously.

breaking iceBreaking the Ice into e-CommerceBreaking the Ice into e-Commerce

Taking credit card orders over the Internet is quite an investment, especially if you don’t already have a merchant account. There are several e-Commerce solutions that can be custom-built for you that use payment gateways such as PayPal, which only requires a bank account, and an email address. Customers can pay you through their credit card, or even their checking account, and it’s a great solution if you’re looking to test the waters.

your business needs a websiteYour Business Needs a WebsiteThe Bottom Line

To be taken seriously, it’s not enough that you simply have a web site, but you must have a professional looking web site. Many customers now search for information online before making a purchase; your web site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by Uncle Bob, your chance of making that good first impression will be lost.

No matter what size your business is, and even if you're not planning on selling online, a well designed web site is essential for any business. If you don’t have a web site, you’re already losing business to companies that do.

For more information, or a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Designing your own website vs. Storm Biz designing your site for you?

what you need to knowWhat You Need to KnowYou may ask yourself, "why should I pay for designing my website, when there are so many different free website designing programs?"

Before I explain what we do for your website, let me ask you 10 important questions you need to know before designing a Search Engine Friendly, and User Friendly website? If you can answer all these questions below, then by all means you are qualified to design your site. If there is even 1 question you are unable to answer, then your site will fail, and it will be better to get a professional designer to develop your website.

  1. What is html, and how do I manipulate it for my web design?
  2. What is Photoshop / Corel?
  3. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  4. What is Search Engine Submission (SES)?
  5. Why should I not use microsoft word to design my site?
  6. Why should I not use frontpage to design my site?
  7. What is google analytics, how will it help me?
  8. What is the difference between php, and asp?
  9. What is Meta Tags and Meta Keywords, how will my site do without it?
  10. What is a sitemap, what will it do for my site?

Google Ranking FactorHigh Google RankingsWe consider all of the above when designing a website, we use our experience in high google rankings, and implement this in every site we design... So, considering all of this, we recommend / do the following:

  • All our websites will be designed using php, and css, this will help with speed, and with search engines.
  • All websites are customized to the clients requirements.
  • All our web design packages come with the small SEO Package, ensuring all links are search engine friendly
  • Search Engine Submission is offered at a low monthly rate, which means we submit your website, meta tags and meta keywords to 150+ websites every month, getting the best possible rank for your keywords, resulting in possible clients finding your site..
  • We include a sitemap in every website we design, this helps search engines navigate, and index all your site pages.

Before considering designing your site we advise you to consult a professional, as this is what we do, and we are good at it.

You know your business, we know our business... and we would never try to run your business for you!

Contact us for a free quotation, or more information

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24 Essential Pages to include on Your Website

page layoutPage Layout Holy GrailWondering what pages to include on your website, and why? Here is a list of important information that should be included on your site.

Before you start thinking about what to write, it is important that you create a plan, which outlines what each page will contain. That way you won't repeat yourself, or forget vital information. The most common pages on successful websites include:

1. Home Page (First Page)

This is your "sales" page and should provide information about what you can do for your customers. It should also give your visitors a brief overview of what they can find on your site.

2. Products / Services

It is useful to have a separate page for each product/service, and write as much detail about each as possible. Start each page with a brief summary of the product/service, then provide whatever information you can. When people are searching for information on the internet, they want to know it NOW. They don't want to wait until tomorrow when they can speak to you on the phone.

3. Contact Us

Place contact details in as many places as possible. Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Create a special "Contact Us" page and include your details in the "About Us" page and also at the bottom of each page. Information to include: business name, physical address, mailing address, telephone, fax, email, emergency number, website address.

4. Pricing

Whenever possible include the price of your products/services. Even if you can't be specific. It is helpful to put at least a range of prices, eg. Carpet cleaning ranges between $40 - $60 per room.

client testimonials for your businessClient Testamonials for Your Business5. Testimonials / Product Reviews / Before & After

Include testimonials from your current customers to show your potential clients that you are trustworthy, reliable and that you provide great service, and/or products. Make sure the testimonials are real, and if possible, provide contact details of the person who supplied you with the testimonial. If you don't have any right now, get them! Simply email your customers and ask for their feedback on your business and service.

You could also include before and after photos. Show the problem picture and beside it show the picture of resolution, with an explanation of your product's benefits.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

This has proven to be a great time saver for many companies. Instead of having to answer the same questions over and over again, place them on your website, and keep adding to them. The more information you have on your website, the less time you will need to spend answering questions by email or phone.

Frequently Asked Questions should address your customer's concerns, that may otherwise be an obstacle to making a sale.

7. Response form such as "Subscribe" or "Enquiry" form

An absolute must if you want to build a mailing list. Most people don't like giving out too much information, so ask only the basics, such as Name and Email Address. Then keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis, by sending out information that may be of interest to them. You may even wish to develop an on-line magazine (ezine). There are many fantastic free or inexpensive programs that can handle this for you.

subscribe to newsletterSubscribe to Newslatter8. On-line Magazine or Newsletter

This is a great marketing tool. Not only does it help you keep in touch with your customers, but provides your website with fresh content. You can set up your Ezine in 2 different ways:

(a) Email subscribers on a regular basis, or

(b) Publish it on your website.

Or both. Include information about your business, industry, or anything that may be of interest to your customers.

9. Resources/Articles

Add value to your business. Provide information that is complementary to what you do. For example, if you sell wedding dresses, include information about reception venues, wedding planners, wedding cakes, flowers. By adding extra information you encourage more hits.

10. About Us

This is a very important page, as it tells your customer about who you are, and why they should buy your products, services, and/or trust your organization. It can also feature your business hours (if you have a bricks and mortar store) or when they can speak to someone on the phone. Many companies also include their mission, details of their staff, (photos, biographies, qualifications), recently completed projects, ACN or ABN, logo, directions to your store/office. It is also useful to include details of trade associations you belong to, trade and ínsurance certificates, and any awards you may have won.

11. Guarantee

Provide a money back policy. The longer the policy period, the more effective it will be. It could be 30 days, 60 days, 1 year or lifetime.

online surveyOnline Surveys12. Survey

Find out what customers think about your website, business, or product.

13. Events Calendar

This can relate to your business, or industry. If you are an artist, you can feature dates where and when your art will be displayed, or if you are a singer, where you will be performing.

14. Search My Website Feature

Some visitors to your site may not know exactly what they want, but if you include a search function on your site, they can look for it very easily. Like search engines, this feature will allow your visitors to type in a word, or phrase, and then search for it on your site. It's like having a mini search engine, only instead of it searching the world wide web, it just searches your website.

15. Return/Refund Policy

To make your customers feel more comfortable when making a transaction at your website, you should provide them with your return/refund policy. Ensure it is easy to understand and spelled out step by step.

16. Privacy Policy

Privacy continues to be a major issue for customers shopping online. Concerns about how their information is going to be used is a major barrier when making a sale. Internet shopping experience is built on trust, and privacy is the number one ingredient in trust.

17. Site Map

A site map shows visitors how the site is laid out, and which sections are where.

CopyrightCopyright18. Copyright Information

Your website should carry a copyright notice to protect its intellectual property. It is generally in the form of "Copyright (c) 2004, Your Company Name".

19. Links

Here you can place links to the manufacturers of your products, trade associations, or complementary services. When you place links to other businesses, you can request they do the same for you. This will not only bring you more visitors, but may improve your search engine ranking.

20. Media Information

Include any information, articles, photos of your products, staff etc that have appeared in the media - print, TV, radio or internet.

21. News

This can include news about your products/services, or about your industry.

22. On-line store

An on-line store allows you to sell products directly on the internet, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. When building an online store it is important to take in a number of key concepts.

• Make sure that when visitors arrive at your store the navigational mechanisms are simple and effective.

• The actual process of placing the order must be simple.

• Make sure you accept common and convenient methods of payment.

• Continually test your store so that you understand your customer's shopping experience.

blog and networkblogging23. Blog

A blog is a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is "blogging", and someone who keeps a blog is a "blogger." Blogs are typically updated daily or weekly, using software that allows people with little or no technical background, to update and maintain the blog. Blogs are a great tool because they help with:

(a) Communicating with your customers. Blogs provide a way for you to communicate with your customers directly. And it is a two-way communication. You can post a message on your blog and your visitors can easily respond.

(b) Search Engine Marketing Blogs give you an increased presence on search engines, like Yahoo! and Google. If you use Blogger (Google's Blogging Tool), every message you post creates a new page on Google, so in a very short time you could have lots of pages pointing to your website.

(c) Stay Ahead of Your Competition. Blogs are relatively new, and chances are your competition does not use them yet. So you will be seen as an expert in your industry when you post your knowledge and expertise.

(d) Media & Public Relations Blogs are excellent PR tools. You can post your Media Releases and articles, and have them picked up by the media.

(e) Free or Low Cost

Image GalleryImage Gallery24. Photo Gallery

Even if you do not wish to sell your products on-line, you may wish to showcase your goods, or services in a special photo gallery - show how your products or services are being used by your customers. They say "a picture speaks a thousand words" and on your website it is particularly important.

Don't give your customers a reason to visit your competitor's website, and provide them with all the information they may possibly need or want.

For a free quotation, or more information, please do not hesitate to contact us

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The Importance of a website for any business

world wide webWorld Wide WebIn today's society, individuals and businesses utilize the World Wide Web as a means to locate, discuss, and distribute information. With tools such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo, businesses are able to not only optimize their websites' search engine results, but also increase the exposure to their products and services. The competitive edge between businesses is defined by more than just low prices, superior customer service, and results. In this day and age, consumers have more on their plate, and less patience to wait for tasks to be completed. They would rather have the ease, and speed of utilizing the internet for service of their needs, than wait in a phone queue for a representative to service that same need. As a result, many businesses have provided additional quality options, and incentives to their members for conducting business transactions online.

A mobile website allows a travelling businessman to take care of his accounts while in the midst of meetings, conferences, and flights. Your company's user-friendly and self-explanatory website design showed the stay-at-home mom how easy it was to manager her business with you, while watching the baby, paying the bills, and getting dinner ready for the family. Consumers don't have time to wait for pages to load. They want websites that are informational, effective, and provide a variety of options to quickly log in and out, while still taking care of their business needs. Consumers utilize search bars and sitemaps to quickly locate what they're looking for, to preserve what precious time they have during the day. They want shopping carts that can save their selections for a later time and date when they have the time to update the products and services they wish to purchase, without having to start all over. With the growing need for consumers to self-service, businesses have awarded incentives to those who prefer to order, service, and cancel their products online.

website redesigningWebsite RedesigningBusinesses are held to higher standards for the level of quality and for their efficiency in servicing the needs of consumers. Consumers want better, faster, easier methods of conducting account transactions worldwide, and expect businesses to progress alongside technological advances. Businesses have been impacted by the rising demand for the need to provide more cost-effective and streamlined servicing. They have found an increased need to constantly accommodate the exponential growth by frequently redesigning websites and performing site maintenances. Despite increasing consumer demands, business owners need to remember not to let quality be overshadowed by the quantity of available methods of accessibility. Though the world is accustomed to technological conveniences, consumers have not forgotten the old-fashioned backbone of quality service and products.

Business owners utilize various tactics to encompass as many consumers in as many ways possible, thereby ensuring their marketing potential is maximized. By incorporating outbound email capabilities, businesses have found email marketing to be highly effective. Options for email marketing range from the "refer a friend" method to clients requesting additional information directly from their websites. By utilizing marketing mailing, businesses gain the advantage of reaching consumers and marketing their products, at the convenience of consumers. Many businesses take full advantage of how easy and powerful online marketing really is. They offer rebates and discounts for conducting business online, which optimizes both their productivity and business results

Business OwnerBusiness OwnerBusiness owners need to get creative when it comes to consumer demands. They need to create a website that is not only effective, but interactive, and also encourages self-servicing. A growing number of websites now offer technical support in multiple forms, and have maintained the sites so as to not slow down with increased access and usage. Websites also have "frequently asked questions" that list questions and answers for common scenarios, to eliminate a certain volume of assistance needed. Companies are therefore able to allocate time and resources elsewhere, to allow for more efficient operation. Business owners in today's society recognize the importance of redesigning websites, and systems, to provide worldwide around the clock access to an easy and efficient website.

For more information, or to request a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us

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Guide to choosing the right web design company

judge the book by its coverThis Time DO Judge The Book By It's CoverChoosing a web design company can be a little tricky, and many times it's a gamble, but if you know what to look for, you can save yourself a lot of stress and frustration. If you don't, however, you could be stuck with poor service and empty promises, as well as being faced with ridiculous bills. Take time to empower yourself with the following knowledge, and learn to spot a bad choice in web design companies from a mile...

LOOKS

This is one of those times, that judging a book by it's cover is in your best interests. A web design company's website is it's book cover, so naturally, if their website is not stimulating...chances are that they will create an unstimulating design for your website...which in turn, is YOUR book cover. If your book cover is amateurish, your potential client may very well pass you by, imagining that your service, or product, would be as exciting as the site they've just seen...

LOOKS vs PRICE

If the client liaison of the web design company drives a Ferrari, there's a very good chance that they are overcharging their customers. Web design prices vary greatly. There are no set guidelines for quality ,nor are there any recommended pricing structures, so one must use one's own discretion here. I can't tell you that R 4000 is a good price for a small website, because it depends on the web design itself. If I may use a fine art analogy here. R 1 million is a ridiculous price to pay for a Trechikoff, but an incredible bargain for a Van Gogh.

EXAMPLES

If the web design company does not supply examples of their work or some form of portfolio, it can mean one of two things. Either the company is just starting out and has no work to showcase yet, or they are not confident enough to display their work because it is not very good. The other problem I've come across here is when a web design agency has a long list of clients that they have allegedly done work for, but no links to the work itself. In cases like these, you can rest assured that at least half of their clientele are made up and the other half of their clientele are upset by their shoddy workmanship. Bottom line is: If the company is any good, they will proudly display examples of their work. If the company just doesn't have any work to display, you're taking a gamble. It's your call.

lazy and unreliable manLazy and Unreliable ManSERVICE

There are three kinds of service you will come across in the web design industry. The first kind are lazy and unreliable, the second kind are very enthusiastic and will promise you the world, but won't deliver, and the last kind (which is the kind you are looking for) will get back to you promptly, and meet, or even exceed your expectations. The latter is very difficult to come by. Here's how you can spot the different kinds...Should you ask for a quote from a web design company or get in touch with them via email and they do not get back to you within twelve hours, then you can expect this kind of service for the entirety of the job. They are lazy and do not feel that you are important enough for them to reply promptly. The second kind is more difficult to spot. This kind are skilled in promotional talking but lack the technical skill/knowledge to deliver, so asking a few technical questions should do the trick. Instead of listening to the words they use to reply, watch their body language to see if they look uncomfortable with the question.

LOCATION

A good internet connection for both parties, in most cases, rules out the significance of where the designers offices are located. In fact, if you have a tight deadline, it is probably better to have an online relationship because when you send an email with instructions, the web designer is already at his/her computer to make the changes, as opposed to having to drive back to their premises and prepare themselves for work mode again. Even material for the job can be emailed because unlike their graphic designer counterparts, the files are low resolution, therefore small in size. One thing to keep in mind though, is that if their offices are in a very exclusive area/office park, you can probably expect to pay "exclusive" prices.

SEO

A good web design company will design your website with search engine optimization in mind. It is no good to have a beautiful website that no one is ever going to see because search engines can't read the format in which it was designed. Ask your designer about their website marketing options. A lot of companies say they offer this but really don't know much about it. If a designer can't tell you exactly how they have optimized your site for search engines, then they probably have not.

meeting a deadlineMeeting a DeadlineDEADLINES

The last factor to take into consideration is the web designers ability to work within given deadlines. In a deadline situation it is almost always better to deal directly with the person/s who are going to be doing the work. In many large corporations, they will send a client liaison to receive instruction from the client, but in many cases the client liaison is only trained to appease the client, by saying "yes we can do that", "sure, you will have it tomorrow", but does not have an inkling of what the work entails, and then will go back to the designer only to be told that there are problems with what was promised. This back-and-forth liaising lends itself to miscommunication and is ultimately a waste of valuable time. The best way to see if a web design company can meet your deadline is to give them a smaller job first, with its own deadline. The Bible says "Those who can be trusted with little, can also be trusted with much".

For more information, or to request a free quotation, please contact us

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