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Answers to Common Web Design Questions : Video Tutorial

Over the past two months I’ve collected many website questions from various coaches and groups. Topics ranging from computer specifics, web design details, domain registration and search engines.  Your questions and my answers are below.

Over the past two months I’ve collected many website questions from various coaches and groups. Your questions and my answers are below.

Your Questions

Q: How much of a computer do I need to start? What will I need five years from now when I have a huge database, shopping cart, etc? If I am looking for a laptop, what are some of the baseline stats and options I should definitely have?

A: I’m the web guy and I’m all over the Internet. I use the baseline Dell model of about three years ago and it’s more than I’ll need for a long time. Data storage is cheap. Using any current model computer, you’ll have no issues with “computing power.” The great thing about computer technology is that it gets better and cheaper every day. Too bad cars don’t run on gigabytes!

I’d focus more on your work/life/office style while keeping things simple. Focus on a fun, productive work environment – a place where you would want to work. For example, I have a nice desk – spacious, clean, and organized for the bulk of my work. I have an old, small, empty laptop for writing and surfing when I want to get out of the house.

As for databases, your email list database would be nicely handled by a third party provider. Your client list would easily be handled by contact management software like Outlook, Act or Eudora. You probably want to focus on building your business and coaching clients while taking advantage of other services to help you.

Q: What top 5 things should I consider if I want a basic website now, and expect it to accommodate excellent growth in my business this year, next year, five years from now?

A: This naturally depends on what your goal/purpose/vision is. There’s no one right way to grow a coaching practice. So, assume you are a new coach just getting out of school. For the next year or two, you want to build a full practice of clients that you can live off full time. I’d suggest:

Make sure your website has a clear, useful purpose for your business. Make sure you fully understand how it will fit into your business and what use you hope to get out of it.

Create email capture/send functionality to keep in touch with people. This means you not only have the functionality on your website, but you should also have some strategy for interaction as well.

Make your site so compelling that every visitor/prospect will want to be part of your business in one way or another.

Make it look professional. A great lawyer in a shabby suit with holes, leaves you with a lot of doubt.

Remember your site is a work-in-progress. Let it serve some useful purpose now (back to #1) and then you can change it in the future as your needs evolve.

Q: If I am working with a graphic designer for my cards and printed materials, and I am working with a web designer for my site, how do I coordinate/share the graphics & vision so that there is continuity between my site and my printed materials?

A: What you can do is come up with the “creatives.” From the creatives, all your graphical needs such as your business cards, brochure, website, stationery, etc, will be derived. Creatives can include:

Once you have your creatives, you can design a logo, design the visual aspect of your website, etc.

Q: How much of my website can I edit and change after a web designer/master sets it up? If I want to have a page or two where I can change text at my discretion, is that possible for me to do directly, or must I go through the designer?

A: Being able to update your own website is something every coach should be able to do. Your web designer will enable you to do what you need in your business, including updating pages to keep your site current.

If it isn’t worth your time to update your own site, say you have a lot of updates often, then you may want to pay a designer or hire a virtual assistant.

Q: What does it cost to build a basic website with several pages, some good graphics, an email capture & newsletter distributor, and maybe one free ebook or e-product promotion? What does it cost to make the most frequently requested changes? What are the costs to changing design or adding pages, vs. the costs for simply changing text on the existing pages?

A: The tough thing about building websites is that there are no standards to go by. I feel bad for people shopping for website help.

You can pay nothing dollar-wise but spend a lot of time, or spend a lot of $$ and little of your time. Sadly, spending a lot of $$ won’t guarantee success … in fact it’s easy to spend a lot of $$ and end up with a site that isn’t very useful. It happens often.

How do I answer this question in a useful and short way? I’m going to throw out some numbers. Hiring a professional web designer who knows your business will save you a lot of time and can put you years ahead, resulting in a good-looking site, and giving you the functional tools you need to market yourself.

Be sure that when you shop, ask a lot of questions. You want to be confident about the web designer’s: graphical skills, sense of your business and how it should be presented, and technical skills to make it all work with the least amount of headaches.

The costs will be in the range of $1500-$5000. I say this with much hesitancy because you still need to deal with the copy writing

aspects of your website. Most importantly, be sure whatever you spend, your time, your money, etc, you are confident that the website you end up with will actually help you … otherwise you will be spending much, much, much more down the road.

Q: As a new coach on a limited budget, what are the top 3 things I should think about doing with my first site?

A: Everyone is on a budget. Don’t let budget be the main factor in choosing your solution. The cheapest dollar solution will help you succeed at minimizing the cost of your website. Your website solution should be one that helps you succeed at, for many new coaches, building a full client load.

Top three things to think about:

1. Where do you want your business to be in the next year or two?

2. What do you want your website to “do” to help you get there?

3. What resources do you have to make that happen?

Q: Do web designers secure the domain name, or does the client do that alone, before hiring?

A: Either way. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to register a domain name.

Q: Once a domain name is secured, how do you find the right place to have it hosted? What is there to know about shopping around for this?

A: Like technology, hosting is very cheap these days, ranging from a few bucks a month to $10-$20 a month. If you get into e-commerce and newsletters, you will pay more, usually tens of dollars more per month.

You will want a host that is established, reliable, and has good customer support. If your web designer isn’t handling all of the technical aspects for you, good customer support from your host is very important.

Q: If I am currently a one-woman-shop, is there any benefit to having a couple of different email addresses for my company…like for me as coach vs. technical feedback? Or, does technical feedback go to you, the web designer?

A: The complexity added by having multiple email addresses often isn’t worth the hassle. I’d suggest sticking with one,

Q: If I offer a free newsletter and have a way to capture emails, or if I offer a free info-product, will I automatically be able to get ratios of *sales* per visits to the site? Or is it just as simple as comparing number of visitors to number of *sales*? When I get data about number of hits, does this include ratios of new visitors vs. repeats, etc? How do I get this data and who provides it? Are there additional costs?

A: It’s a great idea to keep track of conversion rates that occur at your website. Stats are easy to get and can be provided in various ways. You just need to make sure you are set up with them when you are setting up your website. Be sure to ask your web designer if these stats can be attained.

Q: What should I do to help search engines choose my site?

A: There are a lot of factors that go into getting websites to the top of search engines. Some things you can do to help, and many things you won’t be able to do. The main things are to be sure your website is easy for search engines to access, has your keywords in it often, and gets links pointing to your website.

Q: How do the services work that handle capturing emails and sending out newsletters and other marketing automated follow-ups? Where is the data stored, and is there any advantage to having that on my own computer for any reason? Are they secure so that I can be confident that they will not share the info with other people, or sell it?

A: I strongly recommend using an email list service. Two services I’ve used include Aweber and Constant Contact. You will want to use them because they are dedicated to getting your email to their destination while making it easy for you to send them out. With all the junk mail you get and the SPAM abuse to deal with, you need these kinds of resources.

The data is stored at their place, so you don’t have to worry about your data. The data gets backed up regularly too.

To answer the question of “How do they work?”- they are user-friendly, intuitive, and come with how-to guides. Essentially you capture email addresses; write a newsletter (in text or html) and click “send” to reach your audience.

Q: I hate the sites where the page is too wide to be viewed without scrolling back and forth horizontally. What do you do to ensure that even people with smaller screens (and for that matter, slower computers or connections) can easily and quickly navigate my site, never having to work hard to see what I want them to see?

A: As time goes on, the percentage of users using smaller screens decreases in favor of bigger screens. This is because unlike other things, computer-related equipment prices generally go down over time. So what I do is to design websites for screens that make up the majority. The minority, those with 15 inch monitors, will be used to horizontal scrolling.

And again, even if everyone had gigantic monitors, there’s just so much information one can absorb on a website without going bonkers. Usually bigger screen users are using bigger screens not to see more of a single website, but to have multiple applications going at once, like having email up while browsing a website and watching for instant messaging. A website built for 17 inch monitors is about where design is right now.

Q: A friend of mine just created his first website using Dreamweaver, working his way through the tutorial to learn how. His finished product is a website that, while not stunning (and I’m sure not found on Google or set up to collect email addresses or send out e-zines, etc), is presentable and gives him a basic website to send folks to. It was free except for his time (and he already had Dreamweaver), and he can now save up for a more professional site when he is financially ready.

My question: If I wanted to do the same thing, would I be able to hire someone like you down the road to add some bells and whistles (like email capture, e-zine signup, info-product sales, and maybe attractors for the Googles of the world)? Would a web designer add to what I had created, or would he have to start from scratch?

A: You can certainly add to a website. A website is like a work in progress that evolves as your business evolves. Some automated software programs or hosts that provide low cost websites may limit your ability to add these additional functions – but there’s always a way to “skin the cat.”

Kenn’s Question to You: Why don’t you have a Website?

Why do you put up with a lazy website? It’s tough enough to sell an invisible service that still many people don’t understand. You should be using everything you have to get clients, and a solid website is essential.

If you are a coach who needs to create a client-attracting website or needs to redesign oneFree Web Content, take some time to see if my services are right for you: Find out more about the types of coaches I help.

Source: Free Articles from

Kenn Schroder, professional web designer for coaches helps you build a magnetic coaching web site to attract clients. Web site design, search engine optimization (SEO), FREE report and FREE newsletter to help you build a practice-growing coaching web site.

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