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A BLUE PRINT

Developing a site starts with an idea or concept, but then we take the idea and draw out the architecture of the site. Website Architecture sets the tone for the rest of your collateral and materials that “TOUCH” your customers. They need to create an awareness and understanding of the services and or products that you provide. A format or Guide to building an excellent website is as strict as the guide that was created for your Global style. The architecture of your website is like the blue print for your home. It clarifies every dimension/ color, fonts, styles and use of Flash and up-loaders. Once the website is created the next step is to share it with the world. Here is a list of Social Media Networks and other medias that will do just that.

Facebook/ You Tube/ My Space: free, useful, and everyone is on them. I am using these social connectors more and more all the time to market my clients.

•Newsletters: a great way of keeping in touch with your end-user, or even your potential end-users. The key for newsletters is to make sure that they offer information that is useful and appreciated.

•E-mail: It’s free! Everyone has it! I send usually between 2-3 for every show I do.

The Architecture of a Website “The Blue Prints” are divided into:

•Graphic Design- An award winning design collaboration of Company Information and Brand

•>Web Design- XHTML and CSS along with any Flash are developed at this stage

•Programming-In the asp.net or PHP all design are created with databases and CMS panels

•Marketing- [SEO] Search Engine Optimization, Newsletters, Blogging, Written articles, Social Networks

The architecture will be designed to get the “prospective customer” for that business to take an action. This may be to contact the company, sign up as a member or to purchase something online in the shopping cart.

Navigation

How the visitor navigates through the website is as important as important as getting them there through the search engines. If a customer can’t find what they are looking for they will leave because they usually have a very limited amount of time to make that visit. Sixty to seventy percent of all shopping on the web takes place at the work place so 4 minutes is all you will have to gain their interest and get them to commit to taking an action. Basic layout of the navigation relies on keeping the essentials where they would be on most sites.

We have standardized all of our sites to have company information and company communications on the TOP Horizontal Navigation. Products and Services are placed in the left hand vertical navigation

Now that we have this set up we can place the graphics and other attractive elements around this navigation. Keeping the navigation free from an obstructive view is obviously important also. All home page navigation needs to be in a text hyperlink format so that the search engines have an easier time finding the information with using key words as links to other pages in the website.

Flash Slide Shows

Still adhering to the organizations brand we take 5-8 images and place them in a slide show on the home page. Flash ads in the banner allow for more advertising dollars to be generated through the site. These flash ads are links to another page within the site or they are directed to the advertisers site. Directing it to a landing page within the original site allows you to capture the information of how many people are clicking through to the advertisers site. Having this kind of data allows us to show the effectiveness of the ads that are placed.

ECommerce

The creation of an ecommerce website takes a great deal more understanding what the customer needs to accomplish before they leave. This is almost like creating two sites in one to allow for the catalogues and payment systems that are needed to complete the transactions. Adhering to the Brand and directing the potential “Buyer” has to be thought well through because having people pull from a transaction is not an option we like to see in this business. Up-selling at time of checkout is effective if it isn’t over done and an option to skip all of the ads is greatly appreciated by 80% of the purchasers. That 20% that stay really appreciate the attention to some of the needs that may arise after the original purchase is made. The architecture has to be well thought through for both the retail customer and the wholesaler. Does the wholesaler have a certain discount or quantities that make them a certified retailer. A flow chart comes in handy right about here and tax and freight are a major programming issue depending on your circumstances. A website becomes an ecommerce capable website with the merchant services are connected to it. Building a gateway link into the site that enable the customer to use there credit card to purchase items is very important. Finding a good merchant service provider is critical and allowing the built in catalogue to talk to the authorization process could mean the difference between a sale and a fail for a customer. How many times have you gone through the checkout line at your nearest grocery store and you walked out with a purchase because the lines were too long or the cashier was having a problem accepting a payment from someone? This is true for ecommerce. If your shopping experience is less than simple and secure then the potential customer will go elsewhere. PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance must also be taken into consideration.

Galleries | Photo Video

Galleries need to be intuitive and have categories set up to make use of a search function if needed. I like being able to add notes to the images for later use. Flash Galleries are nice but can get hung up on older computers. Up-loaders need to be well documented so that the user knows what they are about to upload is applicable to their system. The system that we are using now allows for photos and video uploads.