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Monday, March 24, 2008

Planning for Future Web Presence

As a small business just entering the online world, it is sometimes out of our reach to do everything we need to in order to have a marketable image and gain visibility. Many of us prefer to take on projects in steps anyhow. With proper planning, this approach works well for those wanting to make the financial burden of online marketing more affordable!

One of the first steps (and most important) for your business' online livelihood is having a website. Not only does this give you a place for your customers to learn more about you, but it gives you a point of credibility as a legitimate business. (Two very important things!)

It's been my experience with companies I've worked with that often the cost of websites AND establishing visibility are just too much money for the typical small business. At least all in one chunk. What ends up happening most of the time is a staged project with the first part being a website development and the next piece a visibility project.

Designing your site to help you control costs and ease of use later on is a huge advantage if you can manage it. One of the biggest problems in this area is Flash. This web development platform is absolutely wonderful for creating outstanding images, videos, etc. However, it is a nightmare when trying to add/change any online aspect.

Flash sites are typically more expensive to begin with, and they are practically invisible to the search engines (remember google and the like can't index images... which is what a flash site is composed of).

That's not to say there aren't ways of making Flash sites visible to the search engines. There certainly are plenty of ways to do that, but be prepared to open the billfold if Flash is what you want. It's more expensive to develop, edit, optimize, etc.

My advice to those wanting to get the most out of their website is to develop first in HTML. You can always add Flash components to those pages. Save your fancy Flash development for when your bringing in the big bucks!

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