If someone walks up to you in the street and tries to get you to buy whatever it is they are selling its a pain. On the other hand if they saw me walking down the street in the pouring rain and offered to sell me an umbrella I'd be happy. The moral is, collect you eMail lists and make sure you also have some means of identifying who is interested in what then you can target your marketing material and people are far less likely to click the "Unsubscribe" button ...which should always be an option out of courtesy to your valued customers!
Trash the template - 2
I agree - The actual components of your website will be similar to those of your competitors in the same way that you both produce accounts. What differentiates you from them is WHO you are, not WHAT you are so it pays to work with a web design company that will sit with you to discuss not just your products and services but your ethos and aspirations too. There are two elements to your website before you write a single word of copy, Design and Construction. Make sure the site will be professionally designed so that it matches your branding and make sure it will be constructed to W3C standards so that it works in all browsers and your carefully put together copy, including relevant keywords, doesn't get lost in the bad code!
And finally, if you are going to be putting the content in yourself (and you should be insisting on this so that you can keep the site up to date without having to pay the designer for every small amendment) make sure you test drive the CMS ("Content Management" system) before going ahead. There are some really bad CMS examples out there which are nigh on impossible to use but there are some VERY good ones too. The CMS is your only access to your website (unless you are coding it from scratch yourself) so take the time to check it out before going ahead.
Kent Web Design from www.esum-web-solutions.co.uk
Marketing online - First impressions!
Wise words here. Your online profile is available 24/7/365 so it pays to get it right. Despite the maturity of the internet it's still a very fast-paced environment and keeping up to date with the latest big thing, and what's waning, is essential in order to keep yourself "on top". Bigger companies can afford to employ dedicated online marketing staff tasked with keeping your name in the limelight. Small businesses, SME's, one man bands etc, can outsource this for a modest investment. And don't forget, social networking and SEO is not just about getting your name out there, it's also about looking for opportunities. It's becoming more and more common to simply post an enquiry on line, to the world, asking for recommendations. You should be looking for those requests so that you can respond before the competition.
Kent Website Design & SEO from http://www.esum-web-solutions.co.uk
Websites are an ongoing investment
Good post. Your website is (or should be!) available 24/7/365 and is likely to be the first impression potential clients get of you. Given the figure of 80% of prospects searching on line first (so that's 80% of people who have already decided to buy!) it makes sense to get it right. Take the time to find a web designer with a track record, checkout some of their previous work, talk to the businesses they've already worked with and preferably use a local one (if you're based in Kent then find a web designer in Kent) who is prepared to come and sit down with you to work out exactly what it is you are trying to achieve.
Once your site is up and running don't neglect it either. Most web designers will offer to do updates for you, at a price, but these days you should really be ensuring that the website has a "Content Management" system that lets you update the site whenever you want without going back to the designer. It doesn't take a geek to do it now either, a modern CMS will facilitate site updates without an html tag in sight! But be careful, there are some good and some pretty awful examples of Content Management systems around so get a trial run before you commit.
Your website is an investment in the long term so you need to feel comfortable that you can work with the web designer over the long term.
Kent Website Design from http://www.esum-web-solutions.co.uk