So, if you are building a new website what are the key considerations for making it a business success? Here’s a checklist for you which covers on page and design issues as well as SEO and online marketing issues…

1. A sharp cutting edge design that reflects your brand in its best possible light

2. Effective navigation and usability so people can find their way around easily and maximise the chances of buying or enquiring of your services – this would include an on site search facility and sitemap as well as effective (and consistent) navigation on each page.

3. A phone number and other contact details at the top of every page In addition other relevant ‘calls to action’ in relevant places to maximise contact.

4. Good comprehensive content to satisfy the information requirements of all types of visitors – buyers, browsers, information seekers.

5. A email collection facility for on going contact ( in exchange for a monthly newsletter for example) – most people who visit your site wont come back unless you remind them

6. A good content management system (CMS) that allows you to change, add , update text and graphics easily – and also the navigation if necessary

7. A CMS which is search engine compliant – ie allows you to change all metadata -(title, description, keyword, H1, alt tags) uniquely for each page – and generates keyword rich urls

8. Good ecommere functionality (if you need it) which interfaces with relevant payment gateways seamlessly. In addition it should allow you to upload your product database to Google Base automatically so you get visibility in the ‘shopping results’

9. An integrated Blog (if you need one – and most of us do) which is design compatible with your website and contains multiple ways of communicating with your audience – RSS, email, social bookmarking.

10. An integrated Blog which automatically feeds Twitter and FaceBook as you Blog (and other social media entities as well if you wish)

11. Registration with Google Webmaster Central (to set up the geographic target, sitemapping, analytics and other necessary settings)

12. Solid hosting with guaranteed uptime and regular backups.

13 You will have ‘Google equity’ in your existing site – make sure you transfer it to the new site through appropriate 301 redirection.

14. And finally, work with a company who can deliver all this for you and provide the necessary training, advice and support is one (I declare an interest here as I’m a shareholer of this company) but there will be many other companies who can do this for you also.

(PS if you are a manufacturing company in the Northwest there are grants to help you with this – call for more info 01928 788100)