Thursday, April 22, 2010

Building Your Home Page

What does your home page say about you or your company? Chances are, if it's like many Web sites out there, very little. Many companies realize that Web sites are a prime marketing channel for their business, but they forget that other people, including potential customers don't eat, drink, breathe and sleep their products. This means that their Web site front page ends up being a showcase for whatever company project has the focus at the moment.

Some of the more common elements of a company home page are:

Products for sale
News and Press Releases
Events and Announcements
What's missing from many home pages is a clear and concise description of the company. If your customers can't figure out what you're trying to sell or do for them right away they might just give up and leave immediately.

What About Existing Customers?

You might be asking, "But our existing customers already know who we are and what we do." While that is probably true, your Web site should be a ready resource for attracting new customers as well as retaining existing ones. But if the new customers aren't really sure what you offer, they might leave for a firm that is more clear.

What you should aim for is a balance between providing the tools returning customers crave with the information that new customers need to make the decision to go with your company. This can be just a sentence or two, with links to more if they need or want it. Leaving this out may satisfy one department's need for one more sentence about their product, but risks alienating new customers before they've even gotten to that product.

Real World Examples

I took a look at three company home pages. Chances are you've heard of at least one of them. None of the three have names that would really tell you what the companies do, so hopefully the home pages are a help. Let's find out...


I'll be looking for:

A summary of what the purpose of the site is.
This might be textual (preferably) or it might simply be obvious from the entire layout of the site.
Products or services displayed prominently and clearly.
This allows new customers (and returning) to visualize what they will be getting.
Clearly defined links to other pages with more information.
Links like "About Us" or "Company Information" are good.
The above information should be "above the fold".
This means, on a lower resolution browser, the prominent information should be visible without the customer needing to scroll.

Web Design Basics

  1. Think small, like 10-12KB per image. Yes, depending on the source, the number of broadband users is going up. But slow pages are still really annoying, even if you're on a T1. And huge images are a primary cause of slow pages. It's easy to optimize your images.
  2. Always use graphics that fit the content. Just because you have an adorable photo of your dog doesn't mean you should have it on your Web site about Web Design (sorry, Shasta...). The main exception I would make to this is for "design" images. These are photos or graphics that help make up the design of the page, and are not intended to illustrate the content.
  3. Do not use images that blink or move or change or rotate or flash or do anything on your page. Or use them sparingly. There have been many studies that show that flashing graphics are distracting and annoying to people. In fact, in one focus group I watched the browsers actually physically cover up flashing graphics so that they could read the rest of the page.


  4. Stick with standard layouts. I've seen some pages that use 6 or 8 frames on one page. Another site used a layout where you had to scroll to the right to read everything on the page (but you never had to scroll down). These layouts are cute, and you might find them fun to build, but they will drive your readers nuts. The reason that the 3-column layout is so popular on Web sites and newspapers is because it works. You might think it's boring, but you'll keep more readers if you stick with something simple that they can understand.
  5. Whitespace is more than the CSS property, it is a function of your layout. You should be aware of the whitespace on your pages and how it affects how the content is viewed. Whitespace is just as important in a Web layout as it is in a paper layout.
  6. Use your graphics as elements in your layouts. Graphics can be more than just graphics when you use them as actual elements in your layouts. An extreme example is when you wrap text around an image, but any image you have on your site is a layout element and should be treated as such.


  7. Serif for headlines and Sans-Serif for text. If you've taken any type of print design, this might be exactly the opposite of what you were taught. But the Web is not print. Sans-serif fonts are much easier to read on computer monitors because the screen resolution is not as high as in print. If you use serif fonts for normal text, the serifs can blur together on the screen making them hard to read. Your printer friendly page should use the opposite fonts (serif for headlines and sans-serif for text).
  8. Limit the number of different fonts. One of the best ways to make your Web site look amateurish is to change the font over and over. Sure, it's possible to do, but limiting your page and site to 2 or possibly 3 standard font families is easier to read and looks more professional.
  9. Use standard font families. Yes, you can choose to use "Rockwood LT Standard" as your font on your page, but the chances that one of your readers will have that font as well is pretty low. Sticking with fonts like Verdana, Geneva, Arial, and Helvetica may seem boring, but your pages will look better and the designs look correct on more browsers.


  10. Don't be greedy. If you have any control over the number of ads on your site, be aware that your readers are not coming to read the ads, they are coming for the content. If the ads overwhelm the page content, many readers won't stick around long enough to read your purple prose. Yes, it's important to make money from your Web site, but if your ads drive people away, you'll ultimately lose money.
  11. Treat ads as you would any other image. Keep them small, avoid blinking/flashing, and keep them relevant. Just because you can have an ad on your site, doesn't mean that you should. If the content is relevant to your readers, they're more likely to click on the ad.

    Remember Your Readers

  12. Test your pages in multiple browsers. Writing Web pages that work only on the most modern browser is both stupid and annoying. Unless you are writing a Web site for a corporate intranet or a kiosk where the browser version is completely fixed, you'll have problems with people not being able to view your pages.
  13. The same is true for operating systems. You can't assume that just because your page works in IE5.0 for Windows it will work in IE5.0 for Macintosh.
  14. Write content that they want. Unless you're writing a site purely for yourself (and if you are, why is it posted to the Web?), make sure that your content covers topics that your readers want to read.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, these days’ uses different tools for better results. One of them is Business Blogs, an alarming word in every small as well as big firm. This is the latest weapon in the arsenal of many SEOs. But, I guess you must be wondering what this is all about? Then this article can, I hope, answer your queries.


Blogs are the abbreviation of web logs. Earlier blogs were called ‘loners online diary’, which is mostly used by journalists, students and writers. But, blogs are now a talk of the town because of its use in different communities including business community. Blogs are easily accessible and can be listed in search pages.

Business Blogs

Business blogs are the online sites which have all the content of your website along with forums for discussion. You can have new ideas and products in your business blog. As blogs are very easily accessible, your potential visitor can view your business blog and can interact with you, if he finds it worthwhile. Blogs are the most inexpensive way of promoting your website. You can have your company back link in your business blog. Business blogs are very easy to update. You can easily add and modify the content which can attract search engines.

Why Business Blogs?

If you still wonder why your business needs a blog then I hope the following points can somehow clear your doubts.

  • You can share timely information with your visitors without asking any designer to update your blog, this you can do yourself.
  • If you are not happy with your e-mail marketing then blogs can pay you the money.
  • The fresh and updated content of your website can allure search engines.
  • Your blog can last for a long time without any expenditure. It is the cheapest marketing and promotional tool.

Benefits of Business Blogs

  • Blogs can create visibility with information
  • It can help your website to achieve a higher search engine ranking
  • You don’t need to wait for weeks to update your content; this can be done instantly in blogs. So it can make you search engine friendly.
  • This is a free marketing tool. Though you can get ROI from PPC also, but this free marketing can also get you endless ROI.

Though business blog can be your free promotional tool but, this should not be considered as a single promotional tool. You can use business blogs with other promotional and marketing tools for better page ranking.

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Media Trends

2009 saw exponential growth in 2009. According to various surveys, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year –over-year in February registering more than 7 million users each month. Facebook outspaces Myspace. David Armano of in his predictions for the year ahead hits the nail on the head.

Here is a synopsis of the trends predicted for Social Media in 2010:

Corporations look to scale:

Big organizations have done t all in year 2009. They have experimented with social media marketing & supported one-oofs, now is the time to become much more pragmatic in approach. Programs & Campaigns would be designed strategically. Best buy’s Twelforce is a great example of how Twitter is used as customer support application.

Social Media becomes less social:

New Privacy Settings like “Hide” option in Facebook has become very common. Not everyone can fit into the group r listings in Twitter making the networks in general appearing making network more exclusive. May be the case is not making it less social but it might seem that way as we all come to terms to get value outta our networks.

Social Business becomes a serious play

It’s interesting to see how small/large corporations move much heavily into entertainment. A new network like “Foursquare” are touted for the focus on making networked activity local and mobile. Its game like quality is making it the buzz of town.

Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)

A corporate social media policy would be a must. Integrating social media to help the brand would not be a bad idea after all!

Mobile becoming Social Media lifelines

Companies banning social media access would see employees stepping out & jumping on their smart apps for a social media break.

Sharing no longer means ‘emails’

The user behavior has changed. Sharing via emails has deceased a lot over last year. Or at least I haven’t noticed emails with funny videos floating and jamming my email box. This is often seen on Twitter or Facebook.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 15th, 2010 at 5:00 AM and is filed under Internet Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Website Design

With each passing day, old website designs are giving way to fresh, trendy website designs. To appeal to the users all the more in your business, you need to add the ‘xing’ to spice up your web designs. For a start, here is a listing of things you can imply. Typography: This trend started with a bang in 2009 and will continue. The use of large, exciting fonts would soon be a part of integral web design. Hand Drawn Sketches: The web is full of traditional graphics & illustrations. Hand Drawn sketches is a pleasant change. It gives website a simple, unique & personalized look. Minimalism