Your Website

Yahoo

The first thing I recommend is that you keep your web site simple and that means using website tools that are easy to manage – website designs go through fashion changes every 18 – 24 months and you will likely make major changes to yours in about that cycle.  Avoid more complicated CMS (Content Management Systems) when you start and stick to tools like WordPress. Of course, you want to avoid having your website look like it was designed by the girl scouts for a cookie sale, so avoid using templates that feel old or kitschy.

If do not have a visual sense (see my post here on this skill), pay a graphics consultant to manage this for you. You may be scrambling, you may not have a lot of money, but you want to look good – this is as important a solid code, detailed product specs or landing your first beta customer.

Second, I suggest that you limit the amount of content on your site when you start – it takes an amazing amount of work to keep content current. So, while you might have bright eyed plans for a blog, videos, press releases and case studies, do not load these on the front end. Keep your site content down to:
1. Home page (Message/value proposition)
2. Bios
3. Company background
4. Who we serve
5. What we do
6. Product(s)
7. Contact Information

Third, you should develop a solid messaging framework (see my post here on messaging and here on taglines) that you use to drive your website content. Messaging is one of those things that is obvious once crafted but remarkably difficult to get to.

Fourth, structure your site so that it can scale – you will want add in video, blogs, use cases and so on as you grow. Or, if the website tool you choose is limited, budget for an overaul/upgrade on a regular basis

Finally, do not get too exercised about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As long as you write in clear English using keywords that related to what you do, avoid embedding text in Flash (or, better, just avoid Flash altogether), tag any video content and provide legitimate links to other sites, your site will do okay in Google’s world.  SEO seems to change every few months and, starting out, you have better things to do with your time than tweaking your SEO profile.

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