Planning, Developing, and Promoting Successful Small Business Websites

Table of Contents

Website Planning
Plan Your Web Site Effectively for Max Success

Types of Websites
Explore the types of Web Site Business Models

Site Types 2
More information on the strategic types of sites

Strategic Planning
Strategy Planning is essential to Success

Strategic Planning 2
Make sure your strategy is up to snuff

Strategic Planning 3
Technical Strategic Planning an Outsourcing Contract Work

Strategic Planning 4
More on Outsourcing Contract Work

Content Planning
Deciding what will go on your business site and who will provide it

Content Planning 2
Determing a schedule for content management

Content Planning 3
Automation for Content Syndication

Keyword Planning Suggestions on preparing keyword research for your site.

Information Architecture
Brainstorming and organizing the architecture of your website.

Information Architecture 2
More discussion on the lower tiers of site heirarchy

Technology Planning Scaleability considerations for large and growing sites.

Tech Planning 2Weighing the value of flash technology.

Budgetary Planning
Creating a budget and using it effectively

Budgetary Planning 2
What type of web host will you need?

Budgetary Planning 3
Labor related expenses for site creation

Budgetary Planning 4
Measuring financial success and ROI

Developing a Web Site

Design and Development
Establishing the importance of credibility in design.

Form Versus Function
Establishing the design priorities of a site.

Writing the Initial Code
Programming considerations for when you get down to programming.

Web Design Coding

Design and Layout


Psychology Considerations

Website Colors

User Satisficing

Validation and Usability Testing

Usability Testing

Search Engine Friendly

Webpage Development

Title Tags

SEO Variables

Promoting a Web Site

Promotion and Analysis

Offline Promotion

Pay-Per-Click Advertising


PPC Tools

Search Engine Optimization

SEO History

Google History

E-mail Marketing

Website Analysis


Planning, Developing, and Promoting a Successful Small Business Website

Appendix item 1-1:  Overture Search Tool

This tool provides insight into the number of search queries by using the data from the previous month on the Overture search engine.

Appendix item 1-1 (continued): The next two screen-shots demonstrate the difference in the number of searches for two similar terms.

Appendix item 1-1 (continued):  Michigan website design search engine queries for the month of June.

Appendix 1-2:  Wordtracker

A word such as “college” is typed into the search form.  Wordtracker returns suggestions that can be explored more in depth.

Appendix item 1-2 (continued):  After terms are chosen from the selected list, they are shown in step 3 for review.

Appendix item 1-2 (continued):  The results of the WordTracker programs shows the number of times a term was searched in a three month period (count), 24-hour period, and the number of competing sites that use that keyword.  The KEI analysis is a ratio of the number of searches to the number of competing sites.  This number gives the user an idea of how easy it may be to obtain good search engine listings, and how valuable the term might be.

Appendix 1-3:  Google Sets

Google Sets gives a developer insight on how search engines group certain subjects by “theme”. 

Appendix item 1-3 (continued):  This is how Google “themes” Northwood University.

Appendix 1-3 (continued): This is how Google “themes” the term “flavored coffees”.  Placing subjects by “theme” is not a perfect science.

Appendix 1-4:  Reach/Acquire/Convert/Retain Chart

Appendix 2-5:  Flowchart of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

Appendix 2-6:  Search Engine Theme Pyramids

Appendix 2-7:  Load time Charts for different connections

30 Kilobyte File

95 Kilobyte File

Appendix 2-8:  Expected Locations for E-commerce elements

Appendix 2-9:  Web Usability Checklist

Based on content from Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen

Compiled by Tom Cutshall July 20, 2001


The guidelines in Nielsen’s book are based on "experience of what actually works when real users try to perform real tasks on the web" (Nielsen, 2000, p. 11). The book is the result of "usability tests with about 400 users from a wide variety of backgrounds using a large number of different web sites over the last six years" (Nielsen, 2000, p. 14).

Web Site Focus and Goals

____Are the user’s needs at the center of your web design?

____Why are users coming to your web site? What do they want to do?

____Are the main things users want to do on your web site easy to do?


____Is the web site structured to mirror user’s tasks, rather than organizational structure?


____Does web site work on browsers and plug-ins up to 2 years old?

____High contrast text color to background color. Black text on white background is optimal.

____ALT tag with description for each graphic so visually impaired can "read them" with screen


____Do not include text in images as they will be difficult to read.


____Homepage should answer "Where am I" and "What does this site do".

____Is text short and concise?

____Use short paragraphs, headings, subheadings, and bullets for ease of scanning.

____Paragraphs should ideally start with a topic sentence and keep to one idea per paragraph.

____Can user tell in a glance what the page is about and what it can do for them?

____Help should contain examples, be task oriented, show how to do step by step, but be brief.

Download times

____Does the page load within 10 seconds? This is the limit of most user’s attention while


____For users with a modem, a 34K page loads in 10 seconds. What is the page size including

graphics? (Pages 40K in size have a user bailout rate of 25-30%)

Appendix item 2-9 (continued):

____Does the top half of the page have more text and less images so the page is useful even

while user is waiting for rest of page to load?

____Are ALT tags on all images so users can understand what they are while they load?

____On pages with many images, provide small versions of graphics user can click for full



____Use percentages rather than fixed pixel number for page and table width--this will adapt the

web page to different screen sizes and resolutions to avoid the hated horizontal scrolling.

____ Images need to have width and height attributes.

____Images no larger than 544 pixels wide by 376 pixels tall or they won’t fit on WebTV screens.

____Use frames sparingly--they take away the ability to bookmark or create a link to a specific


____Break long text documents into theme related chunks on multiple pages for ease of reading

____Provide printer friendly version of long text documents (no frames, all on one page).

____Text should mostly be left justified for ease of scanning/reading.

____Web page titles (what shows on top browser bar) should be concise, 2 to 6 words long.

____Web page titles should start with content specific, unique words that are easy to scan on a

list of bookmarks or search engine results (i.e. don’t start all page titles "UGA Libraries… )


____For ease of scanning, only the most important information-carrying terms should be made

into hypertext links. Avoid using ‘Click Here’" or using the web site URL as the hypertext link.

____As needed, provide a short description of where the link is going.

____When a list of links is given, group and categorize the links under subheadings for easy


____Have a few highly relevant links to other web sites and one supersite rather than too many


____Do the links use standard colors (purple for visited, blue for unvisited)? This way users easily

know where they have been.

____Links opening up a new browser window is not recommended--users lose back button.

____Hypertext links should include the "http://" as part of the URL for faster linking.


____Navigation needs to help users answer the questions:

·         Where am I?

Appendix item 2-9 (continued):

·         Where have I been?

·         Where can I go?

____Consistent logo/graphic and link to the home page on every internal web page in the upper

left corner of page. This provides context and navigation to those who link directly to an

internal page.

____ Best to not use pull-down menus or graphics for navigation choices as the links don’t

indicate by color change that a link has been followed (users loose "where have I been"


____Better to have short list of navigation options rather than pull down menu that won’t let user

see all the options at once.

____Does the home page navigation options overwhelm users with too many choices?

____Many users are search dominate and want a search feature for the web site Provide search

option on the home page and all internal pages, preferably from the top right corner of page.

____Search engine should provide automatic spell check, plural, and synonyms.

____Search results should provide an option for similarity search ("more like this").

____Allow for direct linking to a web page and non-linear use versus forcing users to go through

home page and navigation steps.

____Useful to include a "bread crumb trail" showing where user is in relationship to hierarchy of

pages (i.e. home> departments> reference)

URL Issues

____URL of web page should avoid underscore (illegal in domain names). Use dash or preferably

run together words (i.e. dictionarythesauri.html rather than dictionary_thesauri.html)

____ URL should be short, use common language, and all lower case letters.

Appendix 2-10:  Text to Code Ratio/ Keeping content near the top of the code.

Many webpages use code similar to the code listed below because webpage editors generate it this way.  Much of this code is unnecessary, and can create longer download times by reloading the same information on multiple pages.  Externally linking these files like seen on the next screen shot improves the “text to code ratio”, improves download time by “re-using” elements, and keeps important content that is indexed by search engines closer to the top of the code.

Appendix item 2-10 (continued):  This code is streamlined and improves the overall quality of the website.

Appendix 3-11:  Overture Bid Price Tool

Some websites pay between $10 - $18 dollars per click through for the term “website hosting”

Appendix item 3-11 (continued):  Advertisers pay for being listed for the term Midland, Michigan

Appendix item 3-11 (continued):  Advertisers are even paying the minimum click through cost for the term “Northwood University”

Appendix 3-12:  Screenshots from Webalizer Statistics Tool

Monthly Visitor Tracking

Number of visitors that visited the site during a given month for given search string queries.

Appendix item 3-12 (continued):  Top Entry and Exit Pages on the website.

Appendix 2-13: AW Stats Traffic Analysis Tool

Appendix 3-14:  Clicktracks Traffic Analysis Tool

Analyzing average time on the site for users coming from anywhere, Google, or any search engine.

Appendix item 3-14 (continued):  Average length of time spent on the site based on how the user found the site (which S.E phrase).

Appendix item 3-14 (continued):  Clicktracks offers the ability to track users based on many different criteria.  Below are some of the options for various ways to create individualized reporting for website traffic.


August Bandwidth Report Webpage, Retrieved August 10th, 2003 from World Wide Web


            Bernard, Michael Examining User Expectations for the Location of Common

E-commerce Web Objects, Webpage, Retrieved June 19th, 2003 from World Wide Web,

            Buu-Hoan, Christina, The Danger of Defining "Ethical" SEO in Terms of Search Engine Compliance, Retrieved April 26th, 2003, from World Wide Web 

            Color with Flare and Care Webpage, Retrieved June 20th, 2003 from World Wide Web

Craven, Phil, Google’s PageRank Explained Webpage, Retrieved June 25th, 2002

Definition of the word Breadcrumbs Wepage, Retrieved June 19th, 2003 from World Wide Web

Definition of the word Success Webpage, Retrieved June 6th, 2003 from World Wide Web

Definition of the word Dynamic Webpage, Retrieved June 17th, 2003 from World Wide Web,,sid7_gci348104,00.html

            Definition of the word Client Webpage, Retrieved June 17th from World Wide Web


            Definition of HTML Webpage, Retrieved August 21st, 2003 from World Wide Web

            Definition of the word Cookie, Retrieved June 29th, 2003 from World Wide Web,294236,sid14_gci211838,00.html

Demonstrating the Importance of Top Search Engine Placement Webpage, Retrieved June 25th, 2003 from World Wide Web

DiddlyDazz” (screen-name at, Best Title Length Webpage, Retrieved June 25th, 2003 from World Wide Web

            Eisenberg, Bryan, Dear Marketer:  Have You Ever Looked Into the Wrong End of a Telescope?, WebpageRetrieved June 15th, 2003 from World Wide Web,

Finck, Nick Form vs. Function:  Finding the Balance Webpage Retrieved June 19th, 2003 from World Wide Web

Fogg, B.J. P.h.D, How Consumers and Experts Rate Credibility on the Web Webpage, Published October 29th, 2002

            Godin, Seth, (2001).  The Big Red Fez How to Make any Web Site Better

New York, NY: Fireside Books

Greenspan, Robyn, Retailing: 2002 E-Commerce Holiday Wrap Up Webpage, Retrieved June 23rd, 2002 

            Inan, Hurol, (2002). Measuring the Success of Your Website: A Customer-Centric Approach to Website Management Frenchs Forest, Australia: Griffin Press

Lee, Na Ree, Colour as a Tool for E-branding Webpage, Published February 25th, 2002

Niles, Brian, 37 E-mail Marketing Tips Every Marketer Should Read Before Pressing Send, Webpage, Retrieved June 27th, 2003 from World Wide Web

Sasaki, Hiroshi, Color Psychology Webpage, Published April 30th, 1991

Search engine war: Yahoo is back according to, Retrieved April 26th, from World Wide Web

Tabke, Brett, Search Engine Theme Pyramids

Retrieved June 15th, 2003 from World Wide Web

            Taylor, William Permission Marketing Webpage, Published April, 1998 from World Wide Web

Thomas, Wayne M., Good Ethics Must Become Priority for Renewal in Our Industry,, Retrieved April 17th, 2003, from World Wide Web

            Walsh, Norman, What is XML? Webpage, Published October 3rd, 1998

            Wiley, John, Yahoo! and a Yippity tai-yai-yay!, Retrieved April 26th, from World Wide Web

World Wide Web Consortium, Leading the Web to Its Full Potential Webpage, Retrieved June 24th, 2003

            Zeldman, Jeffery, 99.9% of Website are Obsolete Webpage, Retrieved June 17th, 2003 from World Wide Web


            Dean, Terry, Site Marketing:  Applying Psychology to Internet Marketing Webpage, Published December 2nd, 2002

            Knemeyer, Dirk, The Information Design Approach to Web Development Webpage, Retrieved May 29th, 2003

            Mercedes, Dawn J. Ph.D., Flashes of Brilliance and Use-Centered Design Webpage, Retrieved June 10th, 2003

            Post by “Marcia”, Moving Toward a Plan for an Integrated Website Marketing Approach, Webpage, Posted November 11th, 2002

Post by “Nick_W”, Building Small Business Websites Webpage, Posted June 11th, 2002

            Swackhammer, Jason, Don’t Make Me Think

Great Lakes Web Professionals Presentation, Presented May 8th, 2003

            Thomason, Larisa, The Top Ten Reasons Visitors Leave Your Site Webpage, Published April 2001

            Wichita State University Software Usability Research Laboratory Webpage, Retrieved May 18th, 2003

            Wilson, Dr. Ralph F., 12 Website Decisions Your Business or Organization Will Need to Make Correctly, Webpage Retrieved May 17th, 2003

Fogg, B.J. Ph.D., (2003).  Persuasive Technology:  Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do. San Francisco, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

Levinson, Jay Conrad (1998) Guerilla Marketing Third Edition

Boston, MA:  Houghton Mifflin Books

Other Websites Used for Research

Author Notes

Todd is an Internet Consultant with several years experience in the field of SEO and internet marketing. Todd completed a dual-bachelors degree program in Management Information Systems/ Business Administration from Northwood University in the summer of ’03 after completing this thesis on Planning, Developing, and Promoting a Successful Website for Small Business. He is also a moderator of the Professional Web Business Issues Forum.

(All in a single document) Appendix 1-1: Overture Search Term
Research Tool

Appendix 1-2: Wordtracker Search Query Research Tool

Appendix 1-3: Google Sets Website Theme Research Tool

Appendix 1-4: Reach/ Acquire/ Convert/ Retain

Appendix 2-5: Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth Information Architecture Flowchart

Appendix 2-6: Search Engine Themes Pyramid Information Architecture Example

Appendix 2-7: Webpage Download Time by File Size Chart

Appendix 2-8: Expected Locations for Common E-commerce Elements

Appendix 2-9: Website Usability Checklist

Appendix 2-10: Text Vs.Code Ratio/ Content Near the Top of Souce Code Examples

Appendix 3-11: Overture Bid Price Tool

Appendix 3-12: Webalizer Website Visitor Tracking Tool

Appendix 3-13: AW STATS Website Visitor Tracking Tool

3-14: Clicktracks Website Statistics
Analysis Tool


Author Notes

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Planning, Developing, and Promoting a Successful Small Business Website

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