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Websites That Work

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I suppose some people still want their own website because it's a fun lark and somewhat cool to have one. A notch in the belt, if you will. But I don't know any business owners who feel that way.

What business owners want from a website is the same thing they want from their other business expenditures-profit. Now, don't get me wrong. They also want to provide information and clarify some issues before they arise with new customers. That's all valid.

But as with advertisements and other marketing tools, the ultimate goal is to help the business succeed. With that in mind, it's important to keep a few things in mind while planning your next website.

First, make sure you don't make the site unnecessarily busy, complicating the business message you're attempting to convey. For example, if a customer comes to your website and lacks the flash plug-in to get started, what are you really accomplishing? In most cases, customers want to be able to find contact information in appropriate context, in logical places like the footer and the "contact us" page.

Also, customers want to know about your service or product. That information doesn't need to be on the home page, but it does need to be obvious how to navigate toward it. Tabs at the top of the website work great for this. If you only have a couple of offerings, go ahead and have two tabs; otherwise, take the customer to a page that lists all offerings and let the customer take it from there.

Of course, there is much more to it than that, but those points need to be first and foremost in your mind. Once accomplished, you have conveyed answers to the all-important what, where, and how questions. A fine start indeed.