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Three Steps to a More Professional Company Image
w.09.2008
Three Steps to a More Professional Image
Whether or not you are an online business, having a "web presence" is pretty much required. Providing your location, hours, and contact information is the least you can do for existing and potential customers. Adding a few pages of information and providing an email address is always a nice touch.

However, below is the short list of things to avoid that can make your business look a little aloof - and we don't want that. These tips are all inexpensive, and not complicated enough to put them out of the realm of the do-it-yourself types.

Get Your Own Domain
They are cheap, and the good ones are nearly all gone, so start looking. A nice domain name, (i.e., www.domainname.com) is awesome if you can find one. They all cost the same if they are available, so it doesn't hurt to hunt around until you find one you like.

Don't search for it by typing it in your browser's address bar or Google. Go to a Certified Registrar like GoDaddy.com. They have a handy search form that tells you, with 100% certainty, if the name is available or not. Since they are cheap ($10/year if you manage it yourself) you can get a few that catch your eye, and decide within the next year if you want to keep them for a longer term. The important thing is you stake your claim before someone else does.

Your Own Domain's Email
So, now you have a domain and you put up a simple website - great. Please DON'T throw your Hotmail, AOL, or ISP (internet provider) email address on there! You own the domain, so why not have a professional email address? It looks much better when communicating with customers as sales@YourCompany.com as opposed to Jen04017@hotmail.com.

The absolute easiest way to go about this is to use Live Domains, a free service from Microsoft. You point your domain to Live (instructions on their site) and they give you up to 500 email addresses using your domain name, each with 5GB space! Also, using their free email client (similar to Outlook Express) allows you to have a mixture of private and shared email accounts all in one program, accessible from any computer connected to the internet. So, you can have Mary@YourCompany.com and Bill can have Bill@YourCompany.com, but both of you can simultaneously share the sales@YourCompany.com account! Cool, I know.

Two great aspects of the above:
1. It's easy to setup.
2. You maintain a nice email client on your computer, yet still have access to all your email anywhere in the world by signing into live.com.

Simple Clean Design
If your only choice was to look at a small pile of crap, or a very large pile of crap, which would you prefer? Okay then, if you don't know how to design, keep it simple and just stick with a couple of nice colors, a couple of graphics, and some text. Preferably on a clean, solid color background, like white.

Keep Copyright Current
We've all seen it, you go somewhere and it says ©2002, yet it is 2014. The best thing to do is use server-side code to present the current year to the viewer, so you never have to worry about it. Server-side stuff varies widely, so it's difficult to suggest something that would be appropriate for you without knowing what you are running.

So instead of server-side code, you can use some client-side script, although less of a perfect choice, it will still work.

Copying this code:
	<script language="JavaScript">
	<!--
		var date = new Date();
		document.write("&copy;" + date.getFullYear());	
	//-->
	</script>
	
Paste it where you want the copyright date to appear on your site. If all goes well, your viewers would see this:

                     




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