- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Apress; 1st ed. edition (September 5, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590598393
- ISBN-13: 978-1590598399
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,103,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Web Design and Marketing Solutions for Business Websites 1st ed. Edition
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About the Author
Kevin Potts has been working on the web for almost 10 years, having started his career designing his first employer's website with Netscape and Notepad. He has spent the bulk of his design career working in-house as both a graphic designer and internal web developer. Coupled with years of freelance and agency work, Kevin has created dozens of websites for businesses of all sizes in an array of industries.
Top customer reviews
Kevin Potts begins the book by pointing out that the internet is now an essential medium for businesses of all shapes and sizes; at the same time, customers are more sophisticated than in the early days of the internet, and have little patience for poorly designed websites. In order for a company to present an effective presence on the web, it "must deliver beyond customer expectations; better content, sharper design, smarter architecture, and more proactive communication and interaction are all components of websites that produce exceptional results for corporations."
In the first chapter, the author begins by outlining what a company's website should be doing:
* Marketing, selling products, & promoting services
* Providing customer support & company information
* Creating branding & market awareness
He then covers planning, researching, and selling the design (or redesign) within the company, then moves on to a brief overview of platforms and technologies.
The rest of the book proceeds to show the designer how to create an effective and compelling site for his or her client. He covers content creation, accessibility, architecture & navigation; essential sections of a company website such as the Homepage, About page, Products, and Support pages; error pages, print-friendly pages, legal considerations, and SEO; email marketing, RSS, and advertising campaigns and metrics.
This book is an amazing collection of diverse information presented in a clear and concise fashion. It's not intended as an in-depth treatment of any of the subjects he covers--rather it's an invaluable checklist of essential tools and considerations for designing a top-notch company website.
"Web Design and Marketing Solutions for Business Websites" has become a valuable addition to my reference library, and it is one that I know I will reach for first when I am planning a new or redesigned business or service website.
The decision making process
The beauty of the web is that things can constantly shift and change. We are not working within a static environment. We have the ability to change on the fly and monitor and respond to our needs. The first 4 chapters set the foundation for creating a marketable site. Addressing your goals, visions, and needs, and setting up the proper building blocks to give you the solid foundation you need. These things include redesigning your site and your objectives, planning your platform and content management, gathering up your content, addressing accessibility issues to give your site maximum visibility, and setting up your site architecture and navigation. Within these items you find a way to tell your story. Chances are there are many other's out there with similar stories, so you need to take the time to plan properly.
Craft your words wisely. Understand the technology and the constraints. Ultimately, you need to understand your target audience and how they use the web. Without users, your beautifully designed site will be nothing more than decoration. Take the time to plan your architecture and navigation to match your user's mental models. You need to first realize that, in most cases, you are not your target audience. Step back and empathize with your users and their browsing habits. These chapters give you all of the little details you need to build a solid foundation. You now understand your goals, you have designed to the needs of your users, and you are aware of the proper tools to use (and to avoid) to let your story be heard.
It's all about the content
Now that we have the foundation, the next 6 chapters will walk use through some of the more common pieces of content found within an array of different websites. Pieces of content such as the homepage, an about us section, products and services - whichever it is that you happen to offer, harnessing the words that others have said about you, engaging your users through blogging features, and ultimately supporting your story and communicating with your audience. These pieces of content need to be structured wisely. No one piece should exist without the others. When done well, you will find ways to inter-weave your content between each of the different sections. Your homepage is a prime example of a page that has valuable real-estate and can be used to direct your visitors when you want them to go. The goal here is to not create your content in small islands, but to craft your content in a way that encourages scanability, readability, and interaction from your users.
Now we have build a solid foundation, and added our content on top of that foundation. Things are starting to fill out nicely and you are becoming proud of the the work you have accomplished. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, though. While things may look great, you still need to find a way to make your story known to others. That is, after all, the goal of this book, to market your website. Let's now look at some ways to get in the game.
Shout it to the hills
You have a solid foundation. You have a well crafted architecture and quality content. Now the time has come to release your site into the wild. The next 5 chapters walk through some steps you can take to become more visible. The first of these steps involve planning your server to respond to an array of different request from your users such as proper redirects, searching both outside and within your website, gracefully handling errors and respectfully guiding the users, and understanding the different contexts users may be accessing your content (online, print, devices, etc). Next up you want to cover your bases with the legalese. This can be useful in many cases to protect your business, your content, and your users. Having this in place comforts both you, the owner of the website, and the user visiting your website.
The next section compresses what could have taken an entire book. This is the process of SEO: optimizing your architecture, your content, and your requests to give you maximum visibility. This chapter gives you some very useful tips for understanding how search engines find your content, and how you can let them freely crawl your newly built website or a re-worked existing website. Careful considerations need to be taken in both instances. This leads into the last 2 chapters that discuss outbound marketing and online marketing. All of these come under the umbrella of telling your story inside of a very crowded Internet. These chapters give way to very powerful techniques to getting into the community and interacting within it. It is the art of building relationships with those around you - both websites and users.
Building a successful website takes time. You need to allow time nurture your website and watch it grow. As we recognized in the beginning, the beauty of the web is that we can constantly shift and change to fit our needs and goals. While this book covers a broad array of topics, it covers them in a very concise and readable manner. Whether you are a site owner with little understanding of how the web works, or you are a seasoned web developer trying to find the next steps, this book will be able to point you in the right direction.
Kevin shows the very value of connecting with those around you, by providing a very useful appendix of useful resources such as books, websites, and articles that expand on each of the topics found within the book. If you do any marketing on the web, then this book will prove to be an extremely valuable resource both now and in the future.