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How To Build Your Business Website

By Michelle Mizuno

   By now, most people realize that to be competitive in today’s fast-paced business environment, having a website is an absolute necessity. Making the decision to get a website up and running is simple. The hard part is deciding whether to pay a professional web designer thousands of dollars, or to do it yourself. In the past, it was necessary to invest in expensive software, or learn specialized web programming skills or HTML code to design a website.
 
   SpinSite, Incorporated (www.spinsite.com), has eliminated the need for costly and complicated website software. Their innovative online website builder provides all the tools necessary for creating a polished, interactive website. Some of the features available are photo albums, online stores, calendars, videos, FAQ page, discussion forum, and web log capabilities.  They provide customizable themes, rather than templates, to allow for design flexibility. The online tools allow you to update your site from any web-enabled computer.  Additionally, they offer hosting and domain names.  This is the kind of one-stop shop you should be looking for.

   Be wary of providers that supply only website templates, as your design will be constrained by their template parameters.  For example, there will be a set location for your logo, and one for your text blocks.  If you have too much text to fit into the proscribed area, you will have to cut your text, or make your font smaller, often at the cost of legibility.

   A web designer can create a professional looking site for your company with no direct effort on your part.  Remember, however, that this can be costly.  Another drawback of having someone else design your site is that you will have to wait for the designer to make any updates, and then upload the changes to the Internet.  Also, if you have frequent updates, costs can mount quickly, as some designers charge for each change they make.  If you decide to hire a web designer, consider negotiating a monthly maintenance fee, which will include any changes within reason.

   If you’ve decided to design your own site, keep in mind that functionality is key.  Don’t get carried away with using Flash, multiple fonts, colors, and background textures just because you can.  Overuse of these elements can make your site difficult to read, and download times longer.  Make sure all your links work, and your site’s interface is clean and uncluttered.  A visitor to your site should be able to navigate easily between pages, and always be able to quickly return to your home page.  Always keep your site updated – your visitors will tire of obsolete or stale content.

   Above all, remember that your website is an extension of your company.  It should be attractive, user-friendly, and geared towards making communication with your customers easy and convenient.