Today, you've got tons of available resources for creating your on-line presence. Many ISPs offer packages that provide real value. For example, you may be able to get domain registration, a Web design template (or shell) and hosting services bundled for a small monthly fee. This sounds like a great deal...until you think about what you're going to put into your Web site. If you like to write, got extra time and have a simple site, you can benefit from one of these offers.
However, as we say repeatedly, creating meaningful content is crucial and often the most difficult and time-consuming project for clients. Most people don't like to write, even if they know their topic better than anyone!
So, HighPoint has created Web Content and Design services to provide the best of both worlds: we offer a reasonably-priced full Web site creation package that includes the following:
First, we determine the goals for your site. Do you want to sell stuff, inform your prospects about your products and services, provide tools and references for your customers, etc.? What kind of visitors do you want to attract and what do you want their first impression to be when they hit your home page?
HighPoint has developed thorough questionnaires and planning tools to make sure we don't waste your time or money developing a site not to your expectation. We follow industry best-practices for Web design. We gather the required information and provide lots of feedback from the beginning. We analyze the sites of your competitors, customers, industry organizations and any sites you find effective. We involve you in the process just as much as you want to participate.
If needed, we help you select an Internet Service Provider and get any domains registered. We have worked with many familiar ISPs that provide very low-cost, reliable services. However, during development, you'll use HighPoint's temporary server. Your draft site will not be published, but can be accessed live on the Internet for you to review progress. Once the site is finalized, we will move and publish it to your ISP's server.
Next, we outline your content. What type of information will we include and how will we organize it? What sections and pages do you want on your site? How many tiers of information will the user navigate. Does some or all of the content for these sections exist, or will it need to be created from scratch? This outline serves as your site map, or road map for your Web presence. We determine the menu items from this outline.
Once we do all the preliminary research and outline your site, we begin the design phase. HighPoint Marketing develops at least three different design layouts -- both home page and internal pages. We also include different menu types -- drop down, animated mouse-overs, etc. We work with you to fine-tune an overall design you'll find attractive and effective.
HighPoint Marketing supplies all the stock images for your site. Since HighPoint owns the rights to these royalty-free images, you will not be charged for their use. Company and product-specific images will be supplied by you; or we will arrange to have some created if needed.
Should you want to dress up your site with animation, HighPoint can develop these presentations for you. However, we do not recommend incorporating flash intros. Instead, we believe in a B2B environment, Flash animations should be used sparingly on the home page to drive home your message points, on internal pages to add interest and continue to communicate your messaging, and in diagrams to simplify a concept. Flash can also be used with your menu navigation. Again, we use industry best practices to design your site for goal accomplishment and search engine optimization.
When your site shell/design is ready and your menu/navigation is functioning, we begin developing and/or incorporating your content. This is the most time-consuming phase of your Web project. Of course, our planning process and outlining work done previously will help provide the structure for us to fill in the meat. But, it's still the most trying, yet important, part of the project.
If the content exists in some form, like brochures, presentations, technical docs or other marketing tools, HighPoint is expert at gleaming the appropriate info from your company's materials. If very little existing materials exist, HighPoint will work with the appropriate experts within your company to compile the needed content. We're good at what we do, so we make this process as painless and quick as possible for your professionals.
All work in progress is posted on our temporary server so you can view progress and provide feedback during the entire development process. You'll get to see exactly how your site will look when it's live at your ISP.
Once your site is live, you're not finished! You must maintain accuracy, relevant content and news items of interest to your visitors. If you don't keep your site current, you risk losing your audience and the effectiveness of a relatively inexpensive marketing tool. Either an assigned person/department within your firm can be tasked with the maintenance, or you can have HighPoint update your site at regular intervals or when needed.
Maintenance also includes tweaking the site based on feedback from your users, data from statistics your ISP provides, or changes within your company, industry or competitors. Just like all marketing projects, you must adapt. No marketing effort is ever static.
The question we get asked the most when designing Web sites is: "How do I get my site to rank first in a Google search." Promotion of your site, along with SEO, is a full-time effort that many companies don't understand.
Certain techniques exist to help the search engines find your site. When designing your site from the beginning, HighPoint Marketing uses current industry practices to give your site the best chance of being found. We have a whole system we implement for SEO during your site's development. When we begin your project, we will discuss in detail what specifically we can do to help your site ranking. However, we also stress the need to be realistic. Your site will never always rank number one on Google! Once your site is designed with good SEO techniques in place, you may consider hiring a firm that does nothing but SEO. The costs for these services range from small monthly fees to thousands of dollars.
In addition to prepping and designing your site for optimum SEO, we will also develop a plan for promoting your site. You'll have a good idea of those things you can do after launch to get your site noticed.
Promoting your site is like maintaining it: You have to do it on an ongoing basis. Many techniques exist, but your site is an ever-changing marketing tool. And as such, you can use the promotional techniques outlined at launch time, but also add new promotional opportunities as they surface during your site's life cycle.