© John Kuraoka, a project of www.kuraoka.com
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Effective website design begins in development. Unfortunately, most small businesses - and their website designers - may know how to design a website, but they dont know how to develop a website in the most-effective way. They launch a business website in much the same way they might open a small shop:
1. Get location (get webspace or website host)
2. Build out space (design website)
3. Buy or build inventory (write content for website)
4. Stock the shelves (post content to website)
5. Advertise and promote (submit website to search engines)
The problem is that the bigger (and most-important) search engines can take eight weeks or longer to index your website. Until then, as far as the half-billion people online are concerned, your business website doesnt exist. Can you imagine opening a small business somewhere and waiting two months for your grand opening ads to run? Meanwhile paying rent on your location? Yet, thats exactly what youre doing with this traditional website development process.
Large companies get around this by driving people directly to their websites with big-budget advertising support - traditional advertising, pay-per-click programs, and such. Since youre reading a website called Tightwad Marketing, you probably dont have the budget for that.
Heres the Tightwad Marketing shortcut. Re-arrange the way you develop your business website:
1. Get webspace or website host
2. Write content for website
3. Post content to website
4. Submit website to search engines
5. Design website
In other words, write and post your content early when developing your website, even if its in HTML form like this website. Yes, its not pretty. And yes, its not what youd want your finished website to look like (your website should match the look and feel of your other marketing tools).
However, doing this makes your website content available to be indexed by search engines sooner rather than later, even while you finalize your website design. Your website will have no dead ends or links to blank pages, both of which are things that look bad to potential customers and cause search engines to reject your submission.
So, where do you get this content? You probably have most of it already written in your business plan, brochures, or catalogs. If youre selling a service, then your résumé and those of key people will be parts of your business website. Also, include any articles youve written relevant to your industry. Even the fact that youre developing a business website could fill out a whats new page. For more tips about developing content for your website, see my article Write your website content in 60 minutes.
Consider that theres a reason this website zoomed from nowhere to the coveted #1 ranking in Google and Yahoo for the search term tightwad marketing. And, a top-ten position for the search term free and cheap marketing. From first submission to top-ten ranking took six weeks, two months tops, and didnt cost me a penny. I can add content to the website (this article, for example), or refine its look and feel (such as it is), and not change that search engine ranking. The only things that will affect that ranking are (a) if I remove relevant content or (b) if someone else posts more relevant content or (c) if someone jumps in front of the impartial website search results by paying for placement.
In other words (and for free!), by posting your content first then designing your website around it, youve just bought yourself six to eight weeks head start on getting listed in the major search engines. And, that doesnt take into account the cost savings from not paying for express website submission reviews.
You also get six to eight weeks head start on anyone developing a competitive website. You get valuable time to test your websites performance in the real world. You dont have to rush your website design, because your content is already online - and, youll probably get a better website quicker because your website designer can see all the pieces and how they work together. So, when you do get indexed by the search engines, and customers do start visiting, they have a smooth, positive experience that reinforces your brand identity.
And you get all this, just by re-arranging the order in which you develop your business website. It doesnt cost you a penny extra. Thats small business website development, tightwad style!
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