Volume 14, Issue 1- January/February 2010

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Recapping the Past Two Years
by Manny Hondroulis

I am finishing up my second year as a contributor to Window Film magazine and, over that course of time, have covered a variety of topics about the Internet and our industry. So I thought this would be a good opportunity to recap the important discussion points from the past two years on developing, maintaining and improving an online presence.

Creating a Website
When it comes to creating a website, the high-level steps to keep in mind are:
1. Register a domain name. This can be done on sites such as www.godaddy.com;
2. Select a hosting package, which also can be done on sites such as www.godaddy.com;
3. Develop website content and navigation structure;
4. Select a web designer by issuing a RFP;
5. Proofread your website after its development and before it goes live;
6. Promote the URL through office stationery, print media, invoices, etc.;
7. Maintain and update it regularly.

When it comes to e-mail, change your e-mail address from something like abcwindowtinting@aol.com to yourname@abcwindowtinting.com. Using third-party e-mail providers such as AOL, Googleô and MSN may detract from your businessí image. The general public too often associates infant or unprofessional businesses with those types of e-mail addresses.

Brand your company if you havenít already done so. This will be relevant for your online and offline marketing efforts. Coca-Cola® enjoys the highest brand recognition in the world. When you think of Coke® you probably recall white cursive script on a red background and its website reinforces that branding. Your website should be no exception.

If you donít have a logo, have one developed. Find a graphic artist (or perhaps your web designer) or solicit an online logo development service such as LogoBee for as low as $199 (www.logobee.com).

Website Statistics
Monitor the success of your website by using a statistics tool that records the traffic thatís hitting your website. A tool such as Google Analytics will tell you who is visiting your website, along with when, why and how. Understanding your website traffic will help you tailor your online marketing message to your audience. For example, if you receive a lot of visitors who are looking for information on automotive window film, but your auto tint content is weak or non-existent, itís time to upgrade and update your content.

Nothing screams weak online presence more than irrelevant or outdated content. So update your photo gallery on a regular basis. Be sure to take digital pictures of your installs and upload them to your online photo gallery. Include a specific and relevant caption to help visitors understand at what they are looking. Also mention new products, industry news and industry affiliations to keep your content fresh.

Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Products Distribution in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulisí opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine. If you have questions, e-mail Manny at mhondroulis@epdwindowfilm.com.

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