Home Sweet Home Page

"Your home page is the world's introduction to you and your company. Make it COUNT!" ? Heidi Richards

Think of your home page as the cover of your brochure. It features exciting information about your company, but like a brochure it must be opened to reveal the rest of the message. It is connected to other pages in a way that allows other visitors to your site to move from one page to another by clicking on the highlighted text or images.

Getting your home page up and running on the Internet requires design, operations, and the update of your information. Many Internet Service Providers offer home page construction for free, often with a standard format in their "host" package. This is an inexpensive way to get up and running more quickly on the Internet. In the beginning, it might be an option for your site.

The options of design, operations, and update depend entirely on how much maintenance your site would require and how much information you want the surfer/customer to have. It could be as simple as listing your location, hours of operation, and the types of products and services you provide. Or as elaborate as picture graphics, movement, and even sound.

Design It yourself. This no-frills approach is inexpensive. The many new and easy-to-use software applications available make it affordable to get started. Provided you feel comfortable with this do-it-yourself approach, and feel comfortable learning a new program you can create your own home page. There are, however, some disadvantages. There is no guarantee of quality for the finished product, and it requires a lot of time and energy.

Microsoft offers a free package that allows Word users to build a Web site from their word processing software package. Check out their web site for Internet Assistant for Word (http://www.mircrosoft.com). Adobe has a package called PageMill 2.0, using click-and-drag commands that create web pages. Less than $100, it has the basics needed to create a site. Just call 800-833-6687. Corel offers a Web Graphic Suite of products. More expensive, but you can get more features. Corel's number is 800-772-6735.

New packages become available frequently. Check out the computer software catalogs and local stores for what's out there.

Hiring a Designer. Companies specializing in Web site design are abundant. And new companies are springing up all the time. Of course, it can cost up to $500.00 to develop a modest site. And about $30.00 per hour for updating the site. You will still need the Internet Service Provider to host your site.

Updating your site. The more often your site is updated, the more successful it will tend to be. Active sites are updated weekly, maybe even more frequently. If you want your Web site to be more than a billboard, it could require several hours per week to keep the site current. It all depends on the types of products and services you provide.

Make sure your Web Site is "linked" to other similar industry sites, and professional associations.

Excerpted from The PMS Principles - Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business © 2005 - Heidi Richards

Heidi Richards is the author of The PMS Principles, Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business and 7 other books. She is the owner of Eden Florist & Gift Baskets ? http://www.edenflorist.com and the Founder & CEO of the Women's ECommerce Association, International http://www.WECAI.org (pronounced wee-kī) ? an Internet organization that "Helps Women Do Business on the WEB." Basic Membership is FREE. Ms. Richards can be reached at http://www.HeidiRichards.com or heidi@wecai.org

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