How To Start An Internet Business Designing For Usefulness

The first step to​ starting any Internet business is​ conducting keyword research to​ determine if​ there is​ any interest in​ your idea. Once you​ identify a​ need,​ it’s time to​ consider what your site should look like.

What is​ the​ Goal?

In considering the​ look of​ your site,​ you​ first need to​ determine what elements are needed to​ promote your service or​ product. There are endless books,​ forums and people with adamant opinions on​ the​ subject. Some opine a​ site should be all about linking,​ while others opine creating a​ community through message boards is​ the​ key. a​ third set righteously point out a​ site should be slick or​ cool,​ while a​ fourth group will argue just the​ opposite. So,​ who is​ right and who is​ wrong? the​ answer is…all of​ them.

When developing a​ site,​ the​ goal is​ actually very simple. Your site should be useful. That’s it,​ the​ big secret. the​ problem,​ of​ course,​ is​ “useful” means different things for different sites.

A site that provides a​ service to​ businesses,​ such as​ consulting,​ should focus on​ content and linking. a​ site that promotes something related to​ entertainment should have an​ element of​ cool and have message boards to​ discuss rumors,​ etc. a​ site that sells products should focus on​ linking and loading quickly,​ i.e.,​ a​ simple,​ clean design. the​ point is​ that each site is​ unique and there is​ no universal answer. Whatever the​ particular direction of​ your site,​ simply make sure it​ is​ useful to​ your users.

Site Examples

Let’s use Google as​ our example. What does Google do? it​ gives users the​ ability to​ search and find relevant information. So,​ should the​ home page of​ Google look “cool”? Should it​ have a​ lot of​ content on​ how to​ conduct searches? Should it​ have forums to​ create a​ sense of​ community? No,​ the​ home page would be most useful if​ it​ simply let you​ search without bombarding you​ with a​ lot of​ clutter. Indeed,​ the​ Google home page is​ just that.

What about a​ product site? Let’s use Nomad Journals – - as​ our example. the​ site sells writing journals for outdoor activities such as​ hiking,​ travel,​ rock climbing,​ etc. the​ site is​ simple,​ clean and loads fairly quickly. Unlike Google,​ the​ site immediately needs to​ convey an​ outdoor impression to​ visitors. This is​ accomplished with three outdoor images,​ a​ graphic of​ a​ “nomad” and images of​ the​ journals. the​ text is​ keyword dense,​ but compact and to​ the​ point. the​ page conveys the​ nature of​ the​ product and the​ “vibe” of​ the​ business.

On the​ other end of​ the​ spectrum,​ consider an​ entertainment site such as​ American Idol – the​ site is​ slick,​ offers polls and has community message boards where fans can post messages about the​ competition. This is​ a​ very good layout for this site,​ but would be horrible for Google or​ Nomad Journals.

Don’t Rush

From the​ above examples,​ you​ can see that there is​ no universally correct design for a​ site. Before charging off to​ build a​ site,​ spend at​ few days considering what it​ should look like and WHY. Visit sites that you​ use frequently. Why do you​ keep going back? What annoys you​ about other sites? How do these factors translate to​ your site?

Once you​ have the​ answers,​ you​ will be on​ your way.

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