How to Plan - Build - Promote - Improve
a Business Website

Tips, standards, strategies
in Internet Marketing and Website Design

For Entrepreneurs, Managers of Small Business
Web Business Success requires study, planning, excellent marketing strategy & promotion.
Increase Sales - Improve Site - Cut Costs Long Term

HOW TO Increase web Sales, Improve Business site Traffic

Create a more Effective Website Design
Winning Promotion Strategies

Only about 1% of business websites Succeed. Most don't "get it".
If you're in the 99%, you won't study this "How to", to know why.
You'll fall for "common knowledge", and manage by the "seat of your pants".

For over 12 years, we've rescued failing websites and set standards.
We've helped businesses with technology and marketing for decades.

This Guide to business internet marketing emphasizes planning, design, creation,
promotion, maintenance, upgrades- improvement, redesign or moving a site.

  • To save long-term on maintenance, repair, update costs;
  • A State-of-the-Art Internet marketing guide;
  • The net is now more competitive. Technical & marketing requirements are changing.
    To cut costs of an effective portable site, you must know what you are doing.
  • When you plan, create or update a site, change hosting, change designer, plan web promotion and improvements, ecommerce, a shopping cart- or an SEO, PPC or advertising campaign.
  • How to have the best business website for the budget.
  • How to get top rankings in search engines and have a strong web presence.

Your website is you, your business, billboard - business card to the world- rolled into one.
It speaks volumes instantly.

Don't waste money and look incompetent. Visitors will leave in seconds.

Do it right, or don't do it. --Don't waste two or three years of your time and money. These tips help avoid 2 to 5 times as much in failures, fixes, revisions, maintenance and wasted efforts in the long run. We help balance your efforts and funds.
Different budgets, business types and skill levels dictate different web strategies.
Don't whistle in the dark. It IS complex and time-consuming. So GET GOOD HELP!

Confused? --- Website not Selling?
Looking at WordPress, CMS, Site Builder or a Service?
CAUTION: Half of what you hear on Design and Promotion is Wrong.

Effective Promotion requires Good Design and Strategy

Use our helpful Priorities, Checklists, Guides, How-to articles, Tips, Ratings, and Warnings to select and manage web services, avoid mistakes, build a successful web presence, manage and maintain competitive business or non-profits sites.

Advertising small business online is no longer simple nor cheap. Save - Avoid Costly mistakes. Study this site. Before you even plan a web site, read the applicable pages. Effectiveness, function and usability of a site are more important than flashy spectacular imagery. Our small business web marketing services and business coaching can improve internet marketing. We guide online marketing, promotion and proper design for brick-and-mortar or all-internet business.

To compete in the increasingly competitive internet marketplace - For staff liaison to designer-webmaster, at development and expansion stages, Mid-level strategic, marketing and operational management, seeking maximum medium-term efficiency.

Improved planning and selection of web services to avoid pitfalls and improve chances of success. --What's important --Where opportunities lie, what to do, when and how to do it, what to avoid. Start with Common Website mistakes to avoid.

To be effective, sites must be part of marketing strategy within the business strategy dictated by the market, resources and budget. We emphasize strategy integration with web marketing and operations for lower life-cycle costs using standards, priorities, how-to checklists and tips to match resources to competition. Avoid trial and error lessons---Most sites fail to perform as intended. Web business is increasingly complex and competitive. Our info helps select the right staff, services, experts and design.
Management, designers, staff and SEO/promoters SHOULD function as a team.

Brought to you by experienced All-American Professional Web Design and Marketing experts BG Design / Buyers Group MG, Web-Success™ and WebStandards2020 proprietary Certification (not required). Originally established 1985. BG Design & Marketing since 2002.

  • Buyers' Group and BG Design have a long list of successful clients;
  • We integrate proven "direct marketing" methods and testing to refine crucial business strategy and vice versa in an "iterative campaign" approach that avoids mis-steps.
  • We are degreed experts in management, computer systems, web design, graphics and internet marketing with wide experience (See About Us for our industry experience).
  • BG Design is an established web design and maintenance company focused on integrated design for promotion, updates and maintainability of websites, E-commerce, web database systems.

Management Viewpoint:
Articles are from a management viewpoint oriented to effective design, implementation, maintenance, operations and web marketing issues specific to web technical and market factors balanced with company resources. The internet has changed. Seat-of-the-pants web marketing no longer works, for reasons shown in our articles.

BG Design and Web-Successtn have formulated WebStandard2020-tn to aid serious business managers and executives seeking best practices and standards for site creation and management. WebStandards2020 informs best practices, similar to general business best practices but specific to internet marketing, site design and operations.

Selecting Web Services:
Our How-to tips, checklists for better web services can help avoid common mistakes and costs. Choosing reliable expert service providers is a high priority for a successful web site. Developing parts of our site include:

Cyclical Improvement and Testing:
Web Success requires scheduled improvements based on periodic testing of content, headlines, appeals, keywords-- in testing-promotion campaigns. Only these direct marketing techniques are proven to work. Scheduling allows proper planning, implementation and version control for copyright protection and appeal testing. Planned improvements should integrate business and web strategies based on "feedback" from web market research, testing of ads and promotion campaigns. (There is a reason Google uses the term "campaign".)

Web Market Research:
Market research is easy in some ways, but not in others. It's easy to search up lists of competitors by categories and keywords. But the reality of web competitors is difficult to determine and project what might be coming. Ease of web entry creates scores of "wanna-be's" who look good but have little depth, substance, experience, reliability or capacity. Marketing principles are more important now than ever before to differentiate and keep rankings above real competitors and wanna-be's.

Web Credibility Differentiation:
Because low barriers to entry allow web sites of even fly-by-nights to "look good", we emphasize differentiation, credibility, consistency, budgeting and improvement to compete. Our WebStandards 2020 program guides this effort. Companies must find a fine balance between differentiating by an unusual look yet making visitors comfortable, interested and more confident in you. Only if a business has mostly repeat customers and an established big name can very unusual design succeed. You must always aid site-navigation and speed. (And no, people don't want to sort through your site map).

Primary Decisions:

  1. Under all-important strategy and budgeting, a key choice which is expensive to change but necessary to choose early is whether you will have enough money to use "paid promotion" for years, or whether you will depend more on "organic ranking" with rich authoritative content and inbound links. Organic ranking is undependable and expensive to get and maintain constant improvements and voluminous authoritative content and in-links, so in fact the costs are not much different. The do-it-yourselfer with free contributors who is expert and tireless, working with a good web developer can compete with medium-budget competitors, but not likely against strong promotion budgets.

    It's a good idea to overlap organic and paid placement site design in a hybrid approach guided by your web designer.

  2. At the center of your web success is your web site designer-developer-maintainer who may also be your WebMaster; Choose this key contractor wisely based on our criteria and warnings. They should encourage most of our web standards and encourage your gradual certification, or at least improvements, in each area. This key web service person should intimately know your culture and be experienced in business and website programming and promotion. You don't have to always take the advice of your web designer, but you should at least listen carefully as to why they suggest what they do. If you adopt these Web-Success practices and help your web designer to fully understand your goals and business, they can help meet your goals more economically. The right web-developer will indicate how they are looking out for your long-term interests in good faith. If you help and respect their reasoning and promptly pay them, you will find they do many things in your interests that you would never even know to ask for.

More on what Web Success is all about ....

Most internet projects fall short of aspirations and fail to get good prospects. Only a very few well-designed and positioned well-promoted sites in a high demand niche---do well. Businesses are so varied as to market reach, products and uniqueness of selling proposition that general rules don't well apply.

As in all business, after initial concept and testing of product demand, the carefully-researched business strategy is a key to web success. All kinds of companies fail at this, from small to very large. Proper strategy development is as close as business ever comes to being science. All consistently successful companies have great strategies based on research plus matching of resources and image to the market gaps.

The bywords of strategy are "matching", "balancing" and "positioning" a company's resources, image and strengths to market gaps in geographic areas.

Learning to create strategy well is the best investment a company can make besides testing appeals, talking to prospects/customers and having great help. Execution of good strategy with iterative scheduled improvements is next-most important---critical in web marketing.

What does this have to do with your web site? Everything. Internet strategy is part of business strategy and marketing strategy, determining image, advertising, staffing, operations, accounting and finance. It means disaster when internet market goals are not in line with business goals as to territories, image, competitors and potential markets. What appear wider opportunities later become fierce competition on the web in those broader markets, not planned in the main strategy. A higher focus or differentiation capitalizing on strengths, narrower geographic areas and product distinctions and time-in- business may be a better strategy.

A strategy might find that regional sales reps visiting companies is more-effective means of selling and productive use of capital, so the website may function more for "image" maintenance, inquiry and a communication and order-tracking tool for customers, and for sales reps and vendors to coordinate planning, order tracking, scheduling, inventory. Whether competitors can grow sales faster by a web sales effort depends on the business and how well they promote their competitive advantages. A business emphasizing web-selling can bump up promotion faster than a new expensive sales force can be trained. Only experience and testing can tell what is best in each case.

Managment of a poorly-managed business will skip all this, follow common wisdom, with token appearances of planning. They will usually encounter disaster at the first unexpected turn of events, or a strong organized competitor or rough economy.

Web-Success is for those few who want to excel, to win consistently, who have enough "Business Sense" to build a great stratety by study, and thinking while following proper web standards to win in on the web or alternatives. The web is a two-edged sword: great opportunity but strong possibility of unanticipated competition in the niche, by others' market penetration and dominance. At Web-Success, we don't tout the internet as the answer to your problems. It is merely a complex tool in a business's arsenal, with high potential yet many possible pitfalls. An effective strategy might be very different from a direct competitor's.

We urge standards and knowledge for the few who will not be mesmerized by the web and its fads, but instead do pragmatic strategy and proven methods in every aspect of their business. Management must be visionary, seeing what can happen before it does, learning from others' mistakes, choosing the best path through internet quagmires and computer system risks, emphasizing business and advertising principles and strategy over something that just looks good without a real business strategy. At least 90% of internet business sites represent losers going broke or scraping by. Strategy is what makes the difference.

Some concepts to study:
If the following words have meaning and importance to you, you have A CHANCE to succeed in business on the web:
SWOT, target segment, elevator pitch, barriers to entry, unique selling proposition, ad appeal, differentiation, positioning, audience targeting, Business strategy formulation, marketing strategy, niche, focus, competitive advantage, Boston Matrix, appeal, benefit, proprietary offerings, advertising campaign, ad copy writing, virtual monopoly, image advertising, "cut-throat competition", motivators, navigation standards, Google quality standards, stickiness, load time, focus group, ad headlines, ad copy testing, offer keys, promotion, promotion, qualifying prospects, direct marketing, testing offers, site traffic statistics, pay-per click advertising, opt-in email advertising, targeted newsletter advertising, organic ranking, authoritative, inbound links, paid placement, strategy control by budget, search engine spidering, spider readability, W3C Standards, browser compatibility, Google ranking algorithm (in regard "web authority" principle), Bing, social networking, web community.

You should not only be familiar with these website design, management and marketing phrases, they should be constantly part of your thinking in all aspects of your web presence.

Top Priorities:
Among the above, if you don't get anything else right--- get these:

  1. Choosing the right business and high-demand product in a growth field;
  2. Market and web competition research;
  3. Positioning, Differentiation, Focus and Competitive Advantage;
  4. Deciding promotion as paid, mostly organic or hybrid;
  5. Matching the business strategy to the above and your resources, based on a realistic budget;
  6. Choosing a good web designer developer-maintenance company-webmaster within your country;
  7. Testing appeals, headlines, ad copy and keywords in a scheduled (planned campaign) manner.

You can jump around among articles here. The tips and guideline pages are listed in the order they are usually needed, from overview and main pitfalls to avoid and management goals and concerns down to technical details. It can be helpful even for executives to glance at these issues which internal web staff must deal with, --to properly select, over-see and test your people in this brave new marketing world in which even experts have difficulty.

Warnings and Cautions:
We intend more warnings and cautions, but a few main ones here as to what we would avoid ourselves are:

  1. Never use a WYSIWYG web page editor like FrontPage or Dreamweaver on an existing site or one you intend for commercial duty business. The generated and proprietary code makes for a web developer's nightmare of clean up, and it can really mess up a site that was properly designed and written by an expert programmer. See our page on that.

  2. Never use a Hosting company's page generator/editor or proprietary template system unless you enjoy being locked in and unable to ever move if the host has problems like losing your latest versions. Offline backups also may not be available. This and the above also go for Content Management Systems. Avoid them.

  3. Never choose a web designer developer who is not also known for strong "web maintenance", because a site should be written and designed for easy maintainability, because such web designer will automatically do a better job because they don't want problems maintaining messy indecipherable code.

  4. Do not choose a web designer developer who is not intimately involved and familiar with your own country, cultures, methods, language colloquialisms, etc.. Seemingly conversant persons not raised in the culture often misunderstand important matters at the most inopportune times and are easily offended by questions about misunderstanding, sometimes motivated in ways you may not realize, including jealousy or perhaps helping others use your materials against you. That is, inter-cultural differences, confusion and imbroglios happen. Will you own and control your software in a server in your country? You better. Also, be cautious that many prominent names in web design have a "USA front" but use contractors and subcontractors in India, the Phillipines and other countries, which can sometimes create problems.

  5. Avoid inexperienced web service providers. Be sure they've been in business at least 4 or 5 years and have broad and specialized knowledge, and are authorities in their business with sample clients. Be sure they emphasize designing for efficiencies and the factors under our WebStandards 2020 and this WebSuccess site.

  6. Avoid most "SEO" companies who promise to improve your search ranking. Most are scams, especially those promising top billing on their own or certain sites or search engines which are not the big names and not popular keywords. Who cares if you get top billing for 5 minutes a day on some fly by night search engine nobody uses or mostly some gambling sites ? More important, don't let the SEO company touch your web site! All changes and improvements should go through one point of contact, your web designer-webmaster.

  7. You should question some bills, but understand that a web developer's time spent-- trying "looks", styles and layouts, searching for and resizing images, trying different graphics, waiting for hours on hold for hosting tech support, or searching for better scripts or how to change or fix code usually--but does not always produce results. Expect to pay for the time they work regardless, or they will shift their work to realistic serious companys who understand this fact of web life.

    The talent and skills working for you are creative intellectual professionals who perform in good faith and work harder when praised. Don't insult them, ignore their suggestions, leave them out of website-related purchases, whine or delay payments when they bill you for time worked. Some usually don't bill you for all the time they really spend anyway. If their final long-term results are not generally very good, then select another. It is important to develop a strong easy-going trustful relationship based on good communications and standards. In the long-run, doing that will put you ahead of competition.

  8. If you go "in-house" on most of some of your web work, be sure they work well with and respect the web developer you may use for special projects or to aid over-sight, review, planning and version control. Expect most of your "in-house" people's time to be spent on site management, research, content drafting, monitoring, appeal testing and coding (if they will). Have an outside web designer on tap with frequent projects, critiques, maintenance, design, backups and interaction so they can fill in when your in house person leaves.

  9. Know web hosting specifications and check out such choices carefully, because tech support, email limits, control panels, security and server version updates and payments systems and utilities are highly dependent on the quality of the web host.
    Also be sure your web site designer prefers to work with that hosting company.

For small businesses who really want to grow, sell more and improve using the internet,
Let us help: If you are interested in proper internet marketing, marketing ideas, online marketing-advertising, small business, promotion, marketing strategy, good design, online business, improvements, increasing sales, and business success by proper methods---this is the site to read TO DO IT RIGHT.

We help you avoid the pitfalls in designing, improving and promoting for business or fund-raising in a proper proven manner more likely to actually work WITH the lowest long-term cost and long-term (sustainable) maintainability---by effective design.

As an online marketing firm, we do internet business coaching, marketing services, sales consulting, small business consulting, professional custom website design, website management consulting, and webmaster services.
We do ecommerce design as an online advertising consultant--marketing coach. We help choose the right online marketing strategy and then properly execute that strategy.

Contact us NOW with any questions, or for a special period, get a preliminary Website Critique-Review for only $67.50, or FREE with $100 minimum purchase of site maintenance or update.

Note: If you would like more helpful information about starting a web business, then browse our guidelines and tips on our menu above: 11 Web Business Success Tips, Starting a Web Business Checklist, Before you Start, How to Choose a Domain Name, How to Choose a Domain Registration Company, How to Choose a Hosting Company, Tips for Designing, How to Get My site Working, How to Promote, 10 site Improvement Tips

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