Having spent the last couple of months looking at one web site after the next here are some tips that I can recommend and would be glad to hear comments as to how other people feel about these points.
1. Choice of Domain Name
It's useful to choose a domain name that matches your business activity, and contains at least one of the major keywords. This is not always possible, but it helps.
2. Register domain name
Register your domain name NOW, even if you have no intention of creating a website just yet. There are companies in RSA that specialize in registering high and not so high profile domain names. They then hope to sell these to rightful owners at inflated prices.
3. Website developer
Choose your website developer carefully and check their performance, in terms of search results for targeted key words of the sites they have created for their other clients.
Understand that to be listed in a search result is no mean achievement and can be very costly to achieve and more costly if your website does not get the traffic.
The website and the material and source code used therein belongs to the owner. Make sure the developer understands this and gives you ALL the source code, so that in future you can, if necessary get another company to make changes and additions. Web Developers are not immune to insolvency.
4. Target Market (viewers)
Understand your potential visitors and purpose of your new website, which can be to communicate with existing clients or to gain new ones. If the later make sure the home page conveys exactly what the website is about and who is represented. I have come across many sites and even after 5 minutes I am still unsure what the site is about. Is it a club or a business or a private website. Most internet users are not that patient. They just move on.
5. legal status
Clearly state your legal status and owner of the site as well as location. The internet is a big place and a number of searches are area specific. e.g. "ABC services pretoria." Any way even if I found your site, I may be more inclined to take an interest if I know that you are able to be of service and if you are an online service provider why should I order online, if you are in the next street. Secondly I would never do business on line if all I knew about the seller was that they have a website titled "buyonlinenow.co.za"
6. Bank Account details
Bearing in mind the number of scams that abound, if you must publish a bank account detail on the internet, I would not publish the detail of my main current account, but use a deposit account that is cleared of all funds at least daily.
7. Search results
In order to maximize search results arrange services or products into groups that are likely to be the target of a search query. Deal with each on a separate WebPages that are all uniquely titled and set up to maximize a return on the targeted key words and content that address the keywords and subject matter and content of the page.
Some say content is king. I would say specialized content is king.
8. Avoid Duplicate sites and Content
Do not be tempted to create two websites on the assumption that this will double your chances and a have essentially the same content in both. Google is hunting these sites and removing them from their index.
9.Most Popular Internet Search engine.
Do we all agree that it is Google, MWeb and 24.com ( both seem to be running on the Google engine but contained different results) and lastly our local search engines.
The rest including some of my pet hates will have to wait for part 2.