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1. Have a business plan
How many times have you visited a website and you aren't sure what mission it's trying to accomplish? This is a common mistake businessed make when setting up a website. A business plan, or at least a mission statement, will serve as the compass to lead us in the right direction when constructing your site. The more detailed you are, the more your site will look like your vision for your internet presence.
2. Get a high resolution Logo
Logos are your brand identity. What your company stands for and what you believe in will all be represented by this graphic. It is paramount that you attain high-resolution digital copies of your logo for use on the site and all of your print materials. Toledo Graphics can help you to make sure the logo is getting the concepts across that you want.
3. Capture Photographs & Images
Great photography is a huge opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. Photos of your product or service in your industry are best coming from the clinet. Collect as many images and photographs into a file folder as you can. Professional images can be purchased for relatively cheap if photographs aren’t available.
4. Have a goal - The Call to Action
Ultimately, a user will end their experience on your homepage with some form of action. Perhaps it's using a product demo, watching a video, filling out a request form, downloading a file, or simply getting directions. All pages on your website should promote a path to an end. The Call to Action is your desired outcome for a vistor on your page.
5. Know your client/audience
Since your company has been in existence, you've had to know how to talk to potential customers and clients. You know who is in need of your product or service and what they need to hear from you. Ideally, your sales pitch will be present within your site. Websites that are most popular are the ones that are full of information about your product or service. Picture talking with a potential client, who is interested in your company, when collaborating with us on your website.
6. What are your design preferences?
Your website is the electronic store front to your customer. The average f view for a website is less than 7 seconds. All of your hard work will go for naught if you don't have an eye catching design that is concise and well thought out. What are design standards for your industry? Do you have a color scheme/preference? Are there sites that you like and dislike? If so, why and which parts?
7. Define your Page Names
What do you envision the page names being for the main menu?
8. Write your text (copy)
We can write some text for you, but in reality, no one knows your company like you do. We understand you may not have been blessed with writing talent, but there are aspects of your business that we won't know. We encourage yoy to try your hand at writing text for each page. Toledo Graphics does have copywriter services to fine-tune your words.
9. Know what your competitors are doing
The key to successul Toledo web design is research within your specific industry. If your competitor has a good practice, how can you improve upon it and how can you do it better? Your spin on their ideas might help change your industry.
10. Define your keywords
What keywords are most important for a Google, Yahoo, MSN (Bing) search?
Budgeting is not an easy task. There are many things to considers when constructing a website for your company. The list below is not all encompassing nor the prices set in stone. The most often asked question when we receive a call is "How much will a website cost me?" This is like asking, "How much for a car?" It always boils down to the size and scope of your project.
Templated Website/ Low Budget - $800-$1,500
A template website could allow your business to get on the web quickly and on a tighter budget. Template websites usually are associated with a bad stereotype that they are all the same. Many designers don't like these kinds of sites because they streamline the process and let people think it is easy to design a website. The truth is, like anything, these templated have their place, and as demand for economical websites increases, so will the amount of template websites. Template websites do have limitations and should be considered as a temporary stop gap to your long-term solution. Toledo Graphics offers templated sites with a Content Management System (CMS) that allows for 5 pages of content custom chosen colors.
Custom-Designed Website - $2,500-$6,000
Custom graphic design can be a large unknown for some when referring to website design. A proper custom design can help you target your audience as well as set a level of brand indentity. Custom-Designed sites allow you to capture leads, incorporate custom programming, Ecommerce and Flash.
Animation and Interactivity +$250-$3,000
Animation and movement can drastically change the look and feel of your site. There are many elemenets we can add to make your site stand out from the competition's. It can be quite a statement to your audience that your take your presence on the web seriously.
Custom Programming and Ecommerce +$250 - ?
Programming is a very open-ended realm of web applications. Complex functionality and database management are becoming more important as users need to edit and update their sites' content frequently.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - $100-$1,000 monthly
"How do I get my website to the top of a Search Engine (Google/MSN/Yahoo)?" This query is often asked and not easily answered. The answer lies in an algorithm that each of the Search Engines have devised. Companies spend millions each year to make sure that their company's website is answering the call of these algorithms which base their results on things like Title Tags, Alt Tags, Meta Tags, "Backlinks", Site Architecture, Keyword Density. We can't guaruntee that you will rank in a certain spot, but we have gotten good at using techniques that work. If Search Engine Results are absolutely vital to the livelihood of your business, you should plan to spend monthly to analyze, restructure, and generate searchable content for Search Engines to find.
Which Browsers are you "compatible" with? What is the best one?
Toledo Graphics realizes that not every website displays the same in different browsers. With tablets and mobile phones allow the web to travel wherever you go, internet browsers are all trying to be your browser of choice. Over the years, the way we code has changed significantly and browsers have too. We code to W3C standards which ensures that we are on the cutting edge of the best current coding methodologies. Below is our take on the most popular browsers and what to expect when using them.
Google released its browser (Chrome) in 2008. This is the preferred browser as it allows for logins to span devices. A user on a phone browser can easily visit a page that is on their desktop computer at home. Google is optimistic that this new browser will soon be widely accepted among the loyal Google users.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Remaining relevant is Microsoft Internet Explorer. IE continues to provide internet users with an excellent experience. Because IE was one of the first and most widely accepted browsers, it has some significant rendering problems since the CSS revolution of 2004. Recently released IE10 claims to have solved many of these in the hopes of preserving the top spot amongst internet users. Toledo Graphics currently supports IE version 8+
Apple's Safari browser has a significant share of browsers used. Some technologies that function on PC browsers may not function correctly on Apple proprietary browser. Toledo Graphics recommends Mozilla Firefox be used in place of Safari on a Mac platform.
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