Monday, October 18, 2010

Get your own Web Site!



To compete seriously in any business you must have a web site.
This is ground  zero for all of your creative content.  AND, the spot where your customers and fans all connect with you.  

Do you think that having a myspace or facebook fan page is enough?
 Ask yourself do you own all the email address to the 3,700 fans you have on Myspace? No ?  Imagine if the platform goes away  (So will all of your contacts).

Converting visitors to customers
 A high quality web site reflects your knowledge of your customers and their needs, by reflecting your products and services and how it speaks to your customers needs. to convert your visitors into customers.

Where do I start?

Your about to select one of the most important member of your team-
Who’s work is going to have a direct effect on your marketing, sales, & upcoming events or promotions.   You want to insure that this team member is the right person for the job.

In the Web Site world you will be talking to Designers or Developers (or if your really lucky a perfect blend of BOTH).

It will help you find the right person if you understand what the difference between a Web Developer or a Web Designer

Web Designer

Web design typically refers to the process of designing a web site or web page layout and often includes the graphical elements on a page. The design can be developed using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop, and provides the framework for the look and feel of a web page.
Often, web design and development firms use the term "web design" to refer to the entire development of a web site because it is the most commonly recognized term in the marketplace.

Web Development
Web development is typically used to described the programming code required to construct the "back end" of a website. The back end is the area of the site that isn't seen by visitors, but which does the work required in order to present the right information in the correct format to the visitors.
Ideally when hiring your web person you want them  to have the ability to capture outstanding design and layout as well as have a development platform that is easy for them to update content to keep pace with your current projects, While providing  you with access to  analytics to track and analyse your web traffic.

Stay Away From:

Offers to host, register, and house your domain by the designer/developer. if you decided to use another web designer / developer good luck getting your domain / service.
Web sites designed in FLASH or Frames formats- They are invisible to people searching on mobile devices and invisible to search engines and limit your reporting capability since they cannot index properly. 


Domains / Hosting

A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).

You want to always maintain control (own) your web site domain

Many web site owners let their web designer register their domain name for them. In some cases, the web designer lists themselves as the owner and main contact and the real web site owner can not move to new hosting or make changes without the permission of the web designer.
1) Go to whois source   type in the domain you are interested in using and see if it is available. 
- Use your name or brand with a .com extension, no one is going to find you under “thinga ma unless that is you / your products name that you will be marketing.
2) Where to go to register your domain name.   Although services like receive lots of promotion there have been numerous claims that their customers service, Security, and system reliability are questionable.   I have used IX Webhosting for a number of years and find them very affordable and reliable.  (ask who your collegues use and recommend)  You can expect to spend approx $10 / mo.  Do yourself a favor and simply buy a two year domain hosting (if you let your domain expire, it is up for grabs and individuals buy up website and sell them at a profit (yup there is a whole business in this)
Hosting is often offered in bundles with your domains Your interested in lots of storage and can get the domain / hosting package together for simplicity.

It is critical to your Internet marketing program that you know how well your web site is doing.

Good quality hosting companies will provide you with these statistics as part of your package.
A decent quality statistics package should track the following statistics.
Number of unique visitors.
Number of page views.
How many visitors are from search engines and what key words
they used to find you.
      How many people come from country domains such as .ca
(Canada), .de (Germany) or .uk (England).
     What search engines have visited recently.
What pages of your site are most popular.  What web sites refer traffic to you?
Who Own’s the Site?
You pay for the web site so you own it, right?
Online web designer contracts I found contain a clause like this:
Copyright to the finished web design site produced by [web design company] will be owned by [web design company]. The Client will be assigned rights to use the Web Design Project as a web site, once final payment under this agreement and any additional charges incurred have been paid. Rights to photos, graphics, source code, work-up files, and computer programs are specifically not transferred to the Client, and remain the property of their respective owners.

Many web designers and programmers feel that the creative work they do on your web site is copyrighted by them and that they retain an ownership right.
So they just license it to you to use without giving you the original files so you can make changes yourself later or change designers. This is especially true in cases of programming code where

To protect yourself, ensure that your contract with your web designer includes who owns the web site and all its componants, including source code of any programming and that you retain the right to change designers and hosting.
This is always EXPENSIVE and time consuming (just steer away from it). Unless you have a detailed layout of cost, time, and what type of bugs / downtime you can expect as a result of this work.
This is always EXPENSIVE and time consuming (just steer away from it).

E Commerce:

Most successful web sites let visitors buy right online.       You can easily add e-commerce capability to your web site using 1ShoppingCart or PayPal.
1ShoppingCart is a secure web-based shopping cart that can be added to any site. Features include e-commerce capability with over 150 merchant service providers, an upsell module, an electronic coupon and discount module, unlimited auto responders, broadcast e-mail, newsletter management, affiliate tracking and management, ad/revenue tracking, digital delivery system to deliver e-books and software, survey forms and a pop up wizard.
It will work with most credit card merchant services systems, including PayPal or you can use it to capture orders and process them manually if you prefer.
PayPal offers a low cost method of letting people pay by credit card or from their bank account online. They also offer a free, basic shopping cart that you can add to any web site.
If your designer is adding e-commerce to your site, make sure you know which system they are using, and the pricing and features. Make sure you own the software being used or are the registered owner of the service.

Can I Update my own Web Site?
I strongly discourage self updates.  You are paying a designer to retain a DESIGN and content continuity.  Limit your contributions to feeds to your calendar page, your blog, Twitter feeds, or photo streams you add to your site.
Sites that are ‘self authored’ look home made (and not in a good way) a mile away. If you are seeking a professional look and feel.  Have a professionally written bio and content.

SITE CONTENT RECOMMENDATIONS  (specific recommendations may be made depending upon your sites focus).

SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK / PRODUCT:  Music, Videos, Photos & a Storefront  to purchase your products or service.
TESTIMONIALS:  This is the #1 way to get more work. word of mouth from your current & prior customers! *also include links to their sites to link back to you!
EMAIL / CONTACT: Always allow your customers the ability to sign up for a mailing list (even if your only posting a monthly calendar of events).  As well as letting potential customers email you for booking / work- requests.   Go to Tamra Engle's Contact page for a good example of how your page should look.
I have also included a GET INVOLVED and COMMUNITY page to showcase other projects / networks I am involved in.


Here are some tips to help you choose the right one.

1.   Who’s web site do you love? Look at other artist/ businesses that compete in your industry, what designs are used? Do you like any of them?  If so, scroll to the bottom of the web page and click on the link of the designer that did the work on the sight.
2.   Review their portfolio of web sites they have done to make sure their style is what you are looking for.
3.   If you like what you see email them and tell them you would like to schedule a consultation to design a new site, as them if you can have references from clients that are in your line of work.
4.   Contact some of their previous clients and ask them:
 a. Are they happy with their work? b. Was it on time and on budget? c. Were there any surprises or problems?
d. Did they receive all the access information needed for the web site, hosting and tools used?
  1. Ask for a copy of their web site services contract to ensure the terms and conditions meet your approval.  Yes you CAN negotiate terms!
  2. Know what you want!  (if you like the texture of  this page, or these colors, pictures, logos) these are all decisions that have to be made  create a document with links  or pictures to all the “details” that you want to incorporate so your web person can better determine the scope of work for the project.

Your contract with your web designer should clearly state:

·      Ownership of the site, graphics, pictures, programming and any tools used.
·      A requirement that you have copies of all access instructions, IDs and passwords and that you have the capability of changing them after the project.
·      How much you will pay and when you will pay it. The payment schedule should also state what the payment is based on. For example, you might set up the payment structure so that each payment is based upon certain key components being finished and approved.
·      Who will be doing the work and if portions of the work will be subcontracted. It should also be clear what your responsibilities are to any subcontractor.
·      How extra charges will be handled or approved.
·      How often they will report to you and what will be reported.

A web site is a serious marketing investment with great potential.

Many web site owners pass off the web site to their designers and then don’t pay attention to the project.
When this happens, it is  easy for the project to get off track. To make sure you project stays on track:

·  Stay involved. Be in regular contact with your designer so that you can quickly correct misunderstandings and remove obstacles to the project’s success.

·  Do your part. Make sure you get any material needed by the designer to them on time so that you are not holding the project up.

·  Get weekly reports. Agree upon a reporting system via phone and in writing where you are regularly updated as to progress and quickly made aware of potential problems.

·  Keep it Simple: Clean & Simple- your web site should remove any objections to people doing business with you. Allowing your customers to get what they need in 1 or 2 clicks, and not direct people AWAY from your site *unless it is to buy something of yours.

If you are ready to make the leap into the world of the world wide web and want your site to be top quality, and you need help insuring the success of one of your top marketing tools drop me a note here:

Tamra Engle's Contact page   I can help you insure your content is top notch and help you get started in building a top notch team to insure your success!

Tamra Engle is a performing songwriter and business strategist who offers business solutions for creative minds to help them succeed in the evolving music and entertainment industries.

Garland Coulson    
TierraTech Corporation

1 comment:

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