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Building your business website

26 Nov 2010

Registering your domain name is your first step when
establishing a web presence, and you need to think carefully about which domain
you use. Search engines like Google offer specific local searches, so if you’re
a strictly-New Zealand business, then a .co.nz address will attract the local
customers. However, if you’re seeking markets abroad, you’re better off going
for a .com, .net or .org domain. Tim Webb, owner-manager of Perfect Response
Marketing (www.marketingnz.org),
suggests you register all three, to ensure someone else doesn’t grab your name
in a different domain, and register another domain containing a keyword
concerning your business (eg: www.fancyshoes.net). Domainz (www.domainz.net.nz) is the best known
local domain registry, but other registries like GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com) offer discounted rates. Webb says that extra
presence will get you noticed better by search engines. For that reason it’s
also best to register for at least three years.

It’s easy these days to get a website built for nothing.
Reuben Jackson is CEO of Website Builder (www.websitebuilder.co.nz),
which offers DIY website building using templates to which you just add
content. You pay for the hosting and any special bells and whistles you want,
and you’re online. You can then go back and update the content when you like.
Website Builder offers training on how to do this. But before you do anything
else, you need to get your content sorted – words and images.

To get your website started, just sit down with some paper
and do a rough sketch of how you want it to look. You’ll need to give a
developer a good idea of your vision, if you’re going to get a site
custom-designed, but even if you’re shopping with a DIY provider like Website
Builder, it helps to be clear in your own mind just what sort of look you’re
after when you’re browsing through the templates. Aim for six pages initially,
to cover your front page, some general content, plus your About and Contact
pages.

"You’ll make an efficient design process if you’ve got your
content written,” Jackson says, "because the content will dictate your
navigation and your photography will aid your design process. If you have your
photography and your content sorted, the rest will follow very easily.”

Think carefully about any special features you want on your
site. If you’re a motel or a fitness instructor, you may want to accept
bookings online. Such features are available as plug-ins and are easy to add.
Above all, you must be certain what you want your site to do: where your
customers are located and what you want to offer them when they get there.

Despite the popularity of DIY site building, some marketing
experts are sceptical about this approach. They believe such basic, generic
designs are a turn-off, and that web users are more attracted to sites that are
different, quirky and interesting. Spending a bit of money to get something
unique, which reflects your character, may be better in the long run. Be sure
your developer understands your priorities, and get written quotes for their
work.

For tips on the important things to do immediately after
launching your website, go here.

Early in 2011, business solutions provider MYOB will be
launching a website building tool for small businesses.

"Because Kiwis find it really difficult to get a website up
and running, we’re going to create a website building tool which allows you to
get a really good quality website up and running in under five minutes,” says
MYOB’s New Zealand General Manager, Julian Smith. See here for developments.

The December issue of Start-Up is packed with advice and
tips about the best way to get your website noticed and attract customers. It’s
on sale from Monday, November 29th at good magazine stores, or to
subscribe, click on the Subscribe Now button at the top right-hand side of this page.

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