How to Build a Website Quickly to Increase Sales;
website design and creation for Websites that Sell.

Marketing and Advertising Tips by Experts

Reasons and Tips for Deciding to Build a Quick Website:

Keeping in mind what we have suggested, you may still need a fast website. Putting up a quick website to begin propagation and to have some web presence is not all bad, if you follow some rules and plan to soon build a real business website properly.

When you are desperate to "show up", because you may have a presentation or promotional materials need to go out, or need something for your sales force to point to, we suggest:

  • doing all you can to avoid the main pitfalls while
  • laying a foundation for your quality business website.

We agree that creating at least a home page and one or two product features and information pages is crucial to begin some propagation of your main future website's Title, Description and Headlines. Those must be selected more carefully than anything else, and for each main landing page, even if there are only 3 or 4 standard pages, such as Home, Products and About Us.

You MUST try to get your Titles, Descriptions, Headlines, and bold emphasis text as near to what will be your positioning, unique selling proposition and main messages as correct as possible the first time. Those are what you don't want changing too much, if at all, over the first couple of years. (But don't let that stop you from turning on a dime if you learn your business strategy was not quite right. Strategy and Positioning, based on competition and your core competencies/got-to-be-better product---RULE! ) That takes RESEARCH first and positioning analysis second. Everything else follows (logo, audience, message, look/style, unique selling proposition, etc.)

In your "quick and dirty" do-it-yourself draft website, try to follow some of the foundational steps in our WebSuccess articles.
Read the articles on

  • planning and budgeting,
  • design tips before you begin,
  • new website Checklist
  • website generators,
  • how to promote your website,
  • choosing paid or organic ranking,
  • and testing keywords and content.
  • Common site design Mistakes. (See Menu < ----- on left)

Priorities and Choices in Building your Fast Cheap Website:

You will see that promotion is your priority for design and your efforts. Also you learn that the best interim solution is often a customizable quality website template. (Talk to a web designer; Templates come in all qualities of coding; Look for maintainability and good built-in customization instructions). If you consider using a template to slightly customize with Notepad or CoffeeCup or with a few hundred dollars of web designer help, then read about templates pros and cons. You can probably do some of the customization yourself.

Do not get caught up in glitzy looks or technical cutsie novelties or functionality. Our articles teach you to emphasize business strategy, content, usefulness, advertising basics and maintainability. Complicated Flash and Java scripts are the antithesis to simplicity, basics of advertising and maintainability. Anything custom or unusual will likely cost you many days and/or considerable money. KISS-Keep it simple, seriously.

To make a quick initial business website, here are your main choices (before building a professional business website):
  • Your best fast foundation for a later professional site of your own is likely to be a slightly customized medium-simple template along with a separate blog linking back. You don't have to put up all of the customized template at once. Talk to a good web developer before you choose a template, for pointers on choosing a better website template, and how to edit it to customize it. Between your own efforts and having a website designer touch it up or tweak it, you can get going within two to three weeks. Remember, you might choose a template that could last you even three or four years and avoid having to move from a hosted generated website.
  • Your next best choice is a simplified WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) HTML website generator to have your own code (like Dreamweaver or simpler) and an auxiliary hosted blog service linking back. The priority on those generators is to start as completely designed as possible to avoid more than a few reruns of the generator. After it gets near what you want, use a straight editor like CoffeeCup to directly edit the HTML code and text.
  • Your least favorite choice should be a hosted website generator like Website Tonight or Google Sites and the same separate blog linking back.

These all have some disadvantages over your own professional HTML business website, but each has some minor advantages, the last two being the easiest with moderate expense. You can likely rent a PC at Fedex-Kinko's or a friend's that has Dreamweaver, or buy a simple HTML Editor generator. We explain why these website generators and content managers are not so good for real professional business websites.

Just plan to not get "stuck" too long in a hosted "website builder" website that you don't own and may become unreliable. Follow these general rules:

  • Read the WebSuccess pages that we list above (and more if possible).
  • Follow mostly the parts regarding marketing research, strategy, positioning, budgeting, and outlining the site (outline the quick site and the prospective later professional website, keeping that overlapping as possible).
  • Separate your blogger or changing content being added from your main website pages, as an adjunct to your quick (preferably HTML) website, and as landing pages for special topic promotions; Link them together and put the blog on the menu of the main site as looking like part of it.
  • If possible, for the main site pages, use a more professional website generator like Dreamweaver, or use CoffeeCup Editor with a nice template.
  • If you don't have time or money for that, use a reliable but simpler website generator that outputs HTML, if possible, and has a simple Editor mode (like Notepad, it adds NOTHING itself), not just a WYSIWYG mode.
  • The last resort is a standard hosted website generator like SiteBuilder or Website Tonight, deciding it will be temporary; Don't pour too much effort into it, except developing a basic "look" and basic outline and bare bones content; Set a deadline of a year to 18 months to move to your own real site.
  • Consider making the generated pages a section of your future website, like a feature discussion part of your future business website, so you can build around it and retain the content longer.
  • Separately for blogging content and interesting verbiage, use an open source or popular blogger like Movable Type (TypePad) or Blogsmith; This can be kept and used as an adjunct to your real business site later.
  • Try to keep the colors and look similar for the main site and blogger, and as to classic, modern or slightly different fonts (some computers may convert to arial), as to borders thickness, sections and backgrounds.
  • You might use a Yahoo type forum in place of a blogger if you expect some real participation early; (But not use Yahoo mail);

Remember, there are two kinds of blogger software, hosted service and owned scripts. The blogging software scripts are probably not what you want at early stages. Satisfy yourself as to what is the best blogging service platform. What is used by big companies is not necessarily appropriate for a small company. Sophisticated often means easy to get into trouble and difficult to use, especially on large CMS, content management systems. Go for simple and often-used by novices. But look out for fees and portability-transportability and hacker vulnerability. Those issues are beyond the scope of this Web-Success website. Always try to compare carefully, do your due diligence and lean to simplicity. Blogging software platforms are better judged by their features and user types. Smashing Magazine had a good article describing blogging platforms.. Read down into the Movable Type analysis section for some interesting features.

You can also make a portion of your HTML or main website directly editable to add or modify some text easily, in sections. This is good when you don't have a lot to keep talking about and don't have time to monitor and maintain a blog and its monthly service expense and possible additional domain and promotion. A simple direct content manager within your website is an easy addition by BG Design web developers to your website template, Dreamweaver or WYSIWYG-generated HTML site. (Again, we don't recommend using Dreamweaver or other HTML generator repeatedly. Limit those rewrites to major planned updates and additions in one session each, perhaps up to about 10 times maximum, preferably not more than 3 or 4 regenerations. Avoid major structure or layout changes. Don't use it after your web developer has tweaked the HTML and other code. Use a straight code editor then. If more major revisions are necessary, start over and regenerate it from scratch after about the 6-8th revision.)

Essential Prerequisites of Market Research, Positioning and Outlining before Building your Quick Website:

Try not to scrimp on market research so you begin in the right niche or focus for your positioning and audience targeting and thereby your keywords, headlines and content.

While you are refining your positioning and unique selling proposition, look at lots of websites to help decide the "look" and trade dress if yours is not already totally decided. Look at well-funded sites, and scale back your expectations a little (those are expensive).

Don't forget that after market research, strategy and positioning, next comes the logo and basic trade dress (style, color, theme) before selecting the website colors which must match or at least begins your trade dress. Brand (product or program naming) can also affect the choices of the look. The good news is that your quick and dirty website is mostly a fairly cheap "practice run" at your real business website, and you could scrap the first draft and redo the generated site until you home in your final direction for the professional website build.

Don't skip the step of outlining the website as to purpose, title, description, sub-topics, etc. See How to promote your website and especially how to test keywords and content. Those pages explain how to get your site ranked and visible, and exactly what keywords to search for and how to test them for popularity. One of the tools mentioned is Google's own Keyword Tool.

Goals and Priorities of the Quick Simple First Website:

Read some good articles on what is important in websites, and an article on one approach of building one page per month (or week, for four or five weeks.).

Try to pick a web designer who thinks long term and can answer questions on a pay as you go basis to avoid pitfalls, letting them know your long term intent to follow WebSuccess guidelines as possible. A professional web designer should be willing to make an exception from their likely minimum project size, to help you prepare for your professional business website and avoid problems.

Remember the quote from a leading expert on web design (McGovern):

"If first impressions are so important on the Web, then why have [some not beautiful] websites been so successful? Perhaps the answer is that the look of the website comes second to the function of the website."

Foremost, your website must be functional and easily readable by people and search engine spiders as well as be easy to navigate quickly.

Additional Warnings and Tips About Blogs

Depending on the nature of your content, whether changing, creating issues to debate, case histories, product support or features explanation and so on---be aware that often old links are discussed or cited, and some information becomes very dated. That is a reason to restart blogs or archive some offline, even. The problem is obsolete information that becomes cached in people's browsers; Some people never clean them, so search spiders get lost in your site or blog, and people get angry when they realize content is obsolete.

Also other sites and Google may keep old copies of cached web pages, which are best completely moved or removed when very out of date, and replaced by a link pointing to new content and blog home page, or category subject page, etc..

As in our pages regarding website generators, blogs can become a burden rapidly, if not kept up or maintained and monitored.

And as we say, blogs/content managers are prime targets for hackers,especially if directly connected to the main web site that may have ecommerce or credit or identification information. Even on blogs, people say some personal things that are best somewhat separate from the main business site. Beware of phishers posting legitimate-looking links on your site which may be to fake sites or an attempt to upload a virus into your visitor's computer. Anything that allows users to post information is more vulnerable and should be isolated as possible from your main site, except for some inbound links.

Do use your blog to cite parts of your main website, using "long tail" descriptions and variations, if possible to include popular alternative keyword terms for your main products and content.

In summary, keep it simple. Choose from the three main options, deciding whether you have a few weeks to start building the foundation of a business website that can be improved for two or three years, or whether you need something up within a week (truly quick and not much reusable). Review the prerequisites and do them as possible. Avoid as many pitfalls as possible by at least reading a few WebSuccess articles.

The prerequisites mostly have to do with market and web strategy and doing proper research for positioning and main messages, Titles, descriptions and headlines. Turn that into an outline. Pick the essential parts and summarize some of them, such as a lead-in page summarizing features of products, to later link to individual product detail pages. If you can monitor and maintain a blog, perhaps start one to expand content with more ease than typing in your main website. Mainly consider all the suggestions and re-read tips on WebSuccess until they are not confusing.

These pages are designed to work together flexibly toward your particular needs, while covering the main points for maintainability and strategy emphasis. Doing all the above fairly well and making good choices can get you by for about a year or more, when you should know more about your final main website, and you will be ahead of the game both in time and in having drafted and tested much of the look and content for your professional website. If you chose a good template, or follow the steps in generating a good HTML site with a good site generator and having the code tweaked by a professional, you will actually likely be way over half way to having a really good reliable business website.

As usual, success requires study and balancing of technical design standards, business strategy, advertising basics and internet marketing requirements. Your web design and marketing expert can help you achieve these balances.

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