Monday, November 27, 2006


5 Ways to Give Your Web Site a Big-Company Look and Feel

  • Monday, November 27, 2006
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  • We all DO judge a book by its cover, and the same
    saying goes for Web sites. I’ve seen many
    entrepreneurs offer great information on their Web
    pages, but compromise their image dramatically with a
    few amateur mistakes that can be VERY unforgiving.

    If you want to attract high quality clients and
    customers, and convey that you’re a legitimate,
    credible, and sought-after business, these five points
    are a great launching pad to give your site that “big
    company” look and feel.


    The one your kid created for you doesn’t count! I’m
    talking about paying a designer to do one for you, and
    it doesn’t have to cost in the thousands. If you don’t
    have much of a budget, consider the following options:

    For my E-zine Queen site, I used an online logo
    service called “1800MyLogo”
    ( At the time they charged
    only $199 to design a professional logo based on my
    business, style, and personal preferences. The whole
    process only took about two weeks and was conducted
    entirely over the Web. (To see the final result, take
    a quick peek at

    I’ve also heard good things about, where you can get a quick Web
    site logo for only $25!


    It’s just a fact that folks will feel safer shopping
    at a site with its own domain name.

    For example, if you were shopping online for a
    circular saw, would you be more likely to purchase
    from a hardware site called “” or
    the one whose URL is
    “” (This is a
    fictional example, by the way.)

    Having your own domain name implies you’re a “real”
    company, and not Uncle Bob working in his kitchen at
    night (even though you my very well be ; )).

    There are several “bargain basement” places to buy
    domain names, but the two most popular and credible
    are still:


    Nothing screams “amateur” like sending out
    professional e-mail from a handle like
    “” Once you get a domain name
    for your Web site, have your hosting company set up a
    professional e-mail *alias* for you.

    Let’s go back to Bob, for example. Suppose Bob’s
    e-mail has always been “”
    Now that he has his own domain name, he can instead
    “”. He still KEEPS his Earthlink
    address, because that’s where he’ll actually receive
    his mail. But he should only GIVE OUT the new one on
    his Web site, business cards, etc.

    If you use Outlook Express or a similar e-mail
    program, you can set it up so that your e-mails ONLY
    show your e-mail alias and NOT your personal e-mail
    address. (To do this in Outlook Express, go under the
    “Tools” menu. Then choose “Accounts.” Then select the
    account you use, and click “Properties.” Enter your
    e-mail alias in both the “e-mail address” and “reply
    address” fields.)


    This can mean either hiring a designer to do a custom
    site for you, OR designing it yourself. Unless you’re
    both trained extensively in HTML and have a background
    in design, it’s well worth the money to hire someone.

    Find prospective designers who work with small
    businesses, ask to see samples of their work, and be
    upfront about your budget. If their rates are higher
    than you can afford, ask them if they have any
    pre-designed Web site templates they can just insert
    your information in, cutting down tremendously on
    design time and cost.

    If you do want to put together your own site, check
    out the “corporate” section of for several neat
    designs you can use at no charge. (TIP: Avoid the ones
    with colored backgrounds; they’ll make it more
    complicated for you, and your text will be harder to

    Whatever design you choose, make it CONSISTENT on
    every page of your site, by using the same design
    elements such as borders, fonts, and colors.


    Most of us (and rightfully so) are leery of purchasing

    online from a company we’ve never heard of before. To
    alleviate our fears, put contact information on every
    page if you can, with a physical mailing address,
    phone number, and e-mail address.

    If you’re uncomfortable posting your home address,
    lease a box at a mailing and shipping center and use
    that address. Avoid using “P.O. box” in your address
    if possible, which can appear suspicious. Real
    companies have real addresses!

    Also, get a *toll-free* number if you can — it really
    says “big company.” I got mine from my long distance
    provider, 1Com (, because they
    charge no setup fee or monthly fees — I only pay for
    the incoming calls at my usual great long distance

    About the Author

    Copywriter and consultant Alexandria Brown's FREE
    biweekly e-zine, "AKB MarCom Tips," gives how-to tips
    on creating compelling Web sites, brochures, and
    e-zines. Learn easy ways to "write to sell" and
    attract new customers today! Subscribe now at or via

    Get Free Content at

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