Using iWeb for a business web-site is still a rather popular topic. There are those that think iWeb should never be used, and others that swear by it. I wrote a post on using iWeb for business in July of 2009 and thought it was about time I revisited the subject with a little checklist of things that we should all think about when planning to use our favorite web design app to make a functional business site.
1. First and foremost, there is the theme. If you pick the wrong one your iWeb site will look amateurish and no one will take your business seriously. In addition, picking the wrong theme can give your site and therefore your company completely the wrong image.
Take time to make sure that the theme you select corresponds to the message you are trying to get across or the product or service you are trying to sell.
2. Your target audience. Before you even start to design your iWeb business site you should make sure you know who it is going to be aimed at. Do your research, look at similar business web-sites, will your main customers have a disability that could effect them using your site? There are many things that you should think about in relation to your site’s visitors.
Take a good look at your competitors web-sites and see if there is anything that you really don’t like on their sites. If there is, then there is a chance that you are not the only one so it may be wise not to include it on yours.
3. How your iWeb site is laid out. Are your products or services highlighted on the homepage or are they tucked away in a tiny nav-bar somewhere in the footer? How easy is the text to read on your pages, not just the font you use, but the size too. When you think you have designed your homepage ask a friend to take a look at it and get them to be brutally honest; listen to what they have to say!!
One vital thing to keep in mind is clear navigation. If users can’t get around your site they will leave and go visit a site that they can navigate.
4. If you can’t do graphics get some help. Poor images can kill a serious business site. Try to avoid the old and tired shots of the handshake or the globe that have been around since the internet began. If you really are no good with Photoshop, Pixelmator, Illustrator or Gimp find someone who is and as them to do it for you. You may end up spending a bit of money, but it will be well worth it in the end.
5. Get a proper logo. Another vital step that can be overlooked quite easily. Think about what you want your logo to portray about your business before jumping in headfirst with a basic image. You should be happy with it from the start and it should look good in both color and black and white.
6. Get a proper domain-name and hosting. Mobile Me might be very good for sharing photos with your family members and friends, but handling regular amounts of traffic you really must consider getting yourself some hosting for your iWeb site. There is no excuse as iWeb 09 has FTP built in.
The same goes for a domain-name. If you want customers to take you seriously spend a few dollars/pounds/euros and get yourself a proper domain-name rather than the tongue-twister you get with iWeb and MobileMe. To shorten your URL even further, follow this tutorial from Rage Software using their iWeb SEO Tool.
7. Use the iWeb SEO Tool. Not just for URL shortening but loads of other things too. It is now up to version 1.9.1 and just keeps getting better. You can edit your title tags, add meta-tags and apply alt-text to images as well as add Google Analytics, Statscounter and more to your iWeb site. You can then use it to upload your iWeb site directly to your web space.
8. Get with Google. A real ‘must-do’. Once you have published your site, get yourself a site-map and register your site with Google. Once you have done that, add Analytics to your site so you can start studying your sites stats. If you are having problems creating a site-map go back to the Rage Software site and download their ‘Sitemap Automater’ app which can do it all for you!
9. Take notice of your stats. After a while you should have a good collection of stats for your site and you should be able to tell which parts of your site are more popular than others. Why is that? What is wrong with those pages and what can you do to correct it? Perhaps the SEO is wrong for that page. If you ignore your stats you are ignoring your customers, not good for a business.
10. Test your iWeb site. Before you publish and tell the world that you are on-line test your site. Then get another browser and test it in that, and again, and again. Test, test, test in as many browsers and on as many operating systems as you can.
iWeb can be used to produce an extremely credible business web-site, just as well as any other web design application, it’s just how you go about it that makes the difference. There are plenty of tools available on the internet to make your life easier, so use them.
Do you use your iWeb site for business? How many of these things did you think about before going live? Leave us a comment and let us know.
I LOVE your forum and tips. I have created a few business websites using iWeb and couldn’t have pulled off their professional look without your help. Your tips are PRICELESS! I appreciate everything you have done for the iWeb community and hope to see this website survive for a long time… assuming Apple continues to grow iWeb (yes, I’m disappointed not to see an update for iWeb in iLife ’11).
P.S. Here are a couple of business websites I put together with iWeb and your tips:
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tim Feeny, Tim Bowden. Tim Bowden said: And here it is: http://tinyurl.com/2gy4ouw. 10 tips for iWeb business users. […]
I’ve been developing my website in iWeb. When I’m satisfied with the results, I will be uploading it to my StartLogic account. Right now, I’m reading tutorials on putting product for sale on my store page. I’ve credited allaboutiweb.com for being an important source for building this website. Thanks for all your help!
I have just started a new business, and with a little design knowledge and some html input I’m not doing too bad..
I am going to have a good look at some of your articles and hopefully make some improvements. I think it’s best when the site doesn’t look like it came off the iweb conveyor belt..
Please take a look.
I used iWeb to create a website for my plastering company. There isn’t much that it needs to do, as long as our contact details are displayed, I think thats all that is needed for a small plastering company. Any thoughts?
In relation to your point number 6. I am looking to set up a small business selling graphic tees in the near future. I am currently designing my site in iweb, and have upgraded to the mobileme family pack with 200GB data transfer, is this hosting solution not enough?
Many Thanks, Mike
I’ve used iweb for several and my clients have always been very happy with the result. I guess the only downside is the unpredictability on different browsers when it is published. I always find I spend longer tinkering around to try and make it work across all platforms than actually building the website itself!
Check out some of my work:
Great posts!!!! Your posts have really helped me utilize iweb for my business. I would like your help overcoming one problem I am having. I have a music submission page and I need to have a way to let the musicians submit their mp3 of video files for review. I am also using Paypal to receive payments fro the submissions but there is no way to allow the customer to submit a file from their computer and send it to me via Paypal? Is there a widget or custom html I can use?
Great site Tim! I’m having issues with google analytics map overlay / IP geomapping. Many of my visitors are not being documented. Im finding myself manually entering IP addresses to understand where my visitors are from. I have searched for answers or other add-ons/software to properly map my visitors, and have had no luck. Please tell me you have an answer, i’m tearing my hair out. I just want a simple(and hopefully free) way to visualize my traffic. Thanks very much!
What program do you use now since iweb is no longer functioning? I understand the risks i took using iweb to design my company’s website, but liked it because i have little experience with building websites, and it was simple.
any direction would be great.
Even though MobileMe is discontinued, iWeb is still functioning. So you can continue to use iWeb to build your website.