Here we feature small office & home office (SOHO) based articles related to managing your business time, the top ten do's and don'ts of websign, ten steps to launching a web site on the cheap, 7 tips for creating a Home Office, 5 ways to a happy home business with kids and many more. Please see the menu to the left.

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How to Make Money Through Good Web Design

A well-designed, professional-looking web site can increase your sales even if you are a small business or professional.

However, an amateurish web site that is poorly designed and difficult to navigate will not instill confidence in your services or products...no matter how good they are!

The Internet is fast becoming the Yellow Pages of the 21st Century. Is your business listed in the phone book? Of course! Well, nowadays, more and more people are using the Internet (just like the phone book) to:

  • Locate businesses
  • Compare prices
  • Research products
  • Shop from home

Here Are Some Great Tips

Purchase a domain name
A business, non-profit organization, school or professional must have a domain name and a business-like web site.

Pay for web hosting
A free host will usually post annoying advertising banners on your site. Some of these can be quite detrimental to your business.

The URL of a free host will also look unprofessional, e.g., www.myfreehost.com/computeralley/agentz.

Set up professional-looking email addresses
These are available from paid hosting services.
Example: jpleclair@agentz.com.

Do your homework regarding keywords
Research what words and phrases people are currently using to search for a business like yours on the web. Use these keywords in the content on your page. Search engines index the content of your site not the keyword meta tag

Promote your site to search engines and directories
This must be done carefully. These services will drop you for spamming keywords, cloaking your site, etc.

Many of these services require you to manually submit to them. Follow their guidelines explicitly.

There are millions of sites and mailing lists devoted to Website promotion, but many are sleazy backrooms frequented by the get-rich-quick crowd. Some of the good ones, however, are:

  1. Self Promotion ~ www.selfpromotion.com
    An auto-submission service, which works on a shareware principle. Lots of good submitting tips here. We have used this service very successfully to submit to Yahoo! which is normally very difficult to get listed on.
  2. Refer-It ~ www.refer-it.com
    A listing of the various "affiliate" programs out there.
  3. Submit-It ~ www.submitit.com
    The elder statesman of the auto-submission services.
  4. WebPromote ~ www.webpromote.com
    They offer promotion services. Their site has some good advice, and they also have a Web promotion mailing list.
  5. Web Marketing Today (WilsonWeb) ~ www.wilsonweb.com
    More good marketing advice, and a couple of weekly newsletters.

The Secret to Getting Promoted on Google!
Content, Content, Content... and links from relevant sites back to yours. By the way did I mention CONTENT.

Avoid unnecessary graphics
Graphics load slowly. Use text and background color (defined in Cascading Style Sheets or placed within table cells), instead of graphics, wherever possible.

Animation for its own sake is annoying and quickly sends viewers away from your site.

Avoid Music and Funky Sounds
Unless you are in the business of selling music DO NOT make it so people have to listen to your favorites tunes. In an office environment if someone goes to your site and music or sounds start emanating from their speakers it is inappropriate and can be embarrassing. Don't turn off prospective customers that way.

Add alternative text to graphics
Add alternative text to all graphics so people with disabilities and people who browse with graphics turned off can still enjoy your site.

Avoid busy backgrounds
Text on a busy background is hard to read. Keep backgrounds plain and contrast text appropriately.

Avoid dark text on a dark background
For example, red on black only works if the text is large.

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