Multi-Level Marketing and the Direct Sales industry are not generally considered to be a part of the Advertising Industry, but why not? Yes, the specific concentration is in sales and networking, but isn’t the success of both strictly dependent on the ability for a Direct Sales company to market itself?In your business, one of the keys to being successful is to gain a following. With an enthusiastic, informed and confident distributor base, a company will literally sell itself. But getting that dedicated downline isn’t easy, and sometimes impossible if you don’t have the proper tools. Your greatest and most accessible tool is advertising, or more specifically, your marketing website.We are now fully invested in the internet generation. Our laptops are smaller than the text books we carried around in College. Our cars tell us to turn left at the next light, and our cell phones are used first to manage our lives and last to actually make phone calls. We’re in an “in the moment” era where the motto seems to be “If it can’t be found on Google, it’s not worth the effort.”With that said, one of the most efficient ways to market your business is on the internet. Not only does it give your business visibility to the entire world, information about your company can be accessed anywhere.Knowing you need a good marketing site is essential, but what then? How do you get one? Once you find a vendor, how do you know if their product is a good one? Even more importantly, once you have one, what do you need to do to keep it new and fresh? This article should provide you with some valuable information about building and maintaining a successful marketing site.1.) Who should I have build my site?There is a common misconception that anyone can create a good website. Your nephew is likely a very intelligent, creative boy, and the site he made for your business works well enough. But the truth of the matter is, the image format he used isn’t compatible with some Internet browers, and it seems like every other day, there’s a broken link or page error. As a general rule of thumb, if you want a professional looking site, you will need to have a professional make it.2.) What should I look for in deciding on a Designer/Developer?There are a number of things you should do when selecting a Web Designer. Look at the Designer’s portfolio. Request URLs for sites the Designer has built and take the time to visit those sites. Look for broken links and consistency of design. Most importantly, see if you like the Designer’s style.You want your marketing site to speak for your company. It is a visitor’s first impression of your business, so you want the site’s style to not only be professional, easy to navigate, and pleasing to the eye, but also to make an artistic statement about your company. Also, check your potential Developer’s site. If they don’t have one, or the site is poorly built or maintained, scratch them off the list and keep looking!3.) Should I hire a Developer or a Designer? What is the difference?It is vital to have a clear understanding of the difference between a Developer and a Designer. A Web Designer is a professional who focuses on a website’s aesthetics. Most good Designers have experience in development, but their main focus is the layout, coloring, and visual components of the site.If you think of your marketing site as a house, the Designer plays the role of interior decorator and landscaper. The Developer, on the other hand, is your contractor. Developers focus on the functionality of your site. Links, functions and processes that your site is required to perform are all part of a Developer’s area of expertise.If something on the site breaks, or if visitors are receiving page errors, a Developer would be the one who would go in a fix the broken code. Your best bet is to find a Web Design vendor that has both Designers and Developers on staff. This way, you can be sure that your site design is produced by a specialist and if there are functional issues, a development programmer is on staff as well.4.) What about Replicated websites?You should always discuss replicated site creation before you decide on a potential Web Developer. Their ability to replicate your marketing site will be a key indicator of whether or not they are properly staffed to provide web development as well as web design. Also, if you discuss replication from the start, it can be integrated into your initial design contract. This will help you avoid being surprised later by excessive development fees tacked on for replication once you are invested in the company.5.) What should I focus on during the development of my website?Showcasing your product or service is the obvious answer, but there are other key factors to consider when planning your site. You should have a target market in mind. A target market is, specifically, the people your inventory or service is most likely to attract. If you’re selling environmentally friendly alternatives to baby-related merchandise, your target market is going to include parents and environmentally concerned consumers.You want your site to be open enough to speak to your non-market specific visitors, but you also want it to really catch the attention of those customers who are most likely to seek out your type of product. You want your site to be educational. Most people don’t want to have to call or visit your office to learn about your business, so your site should give them as much information as possible, but it’s important to find a healthy balance of simple and detailed.If visitors are overwhelmed by huge excerpts of unorganized text, they may feel more intimidated than informed. Keeping things simple, organized and easy to find is often better. Avoid excessively long passages right on your main page. Focus on short, concise summaries and provide links to more detailed pages. Website viewers tend to scan, not read, as they want the information quickly and easily. The easier that information is to find and understand the better.6.) Once my website is up and running is there anything I need to do to maintain it?Your marketing site is like any advertisement. No matter how catchy and effective it is, eventually it will get a little old. Consider TV commercials. When a new one comes out that catches your interest, every time it comes on you watch it with full focus.But after seeing the same commercial 15 times, it becomes predictable and stale, and sometimes even annoying. The same can be said of marketing sites. You want your site to be catchy, interesting and effective every time someone visits it. This requires that you switch things up every so often to keep your site fresh.Change your homepage images. Modify your introduction text. Add links to new pages. Your marketing site should be a living, virtual document. Someone who visited your site last month and wasn’t captured immediately, but is interested enough to return for a second look, might see your business in a new light and decide to join or shop.7.) Any Web Developer/Designer recommendations?ByDesign! ByDesign has launched ByDesign Creative, a marketing services department, and now provides website design, development and site replication. Headed by Art Director Jason Rivers, our Marketing Team offers years of industry experience. With a talented group of programmers, ByDesign can help you manage the creation, creative layout and maintenance of your marketing site.The marketing team focuses on aesthetics and usability in creating contemporary, user-friendly, well-designed websites, branding, packaging and marketing materials. With web design experience spanning from the early commercialization of the internet to today’s Web 2.0 environment, your website is in good hands with ByDesign’s Creative team.Using the latest standards and tools, solid design skills and no small amount of common sense, they’ll make sure your new site or redesign is what you’re looking for. Why should you choose ByDesign Creative over a 3rd-party designer? Here are a few reasons why we may be your perfect fit:Search Engine OptimizationThough we can’t promise your site will appear first when someone Googles “Direct Sales”, we can promise your site will be built to be search engine friendly. We use standard compliant code and keyword tagging to flag your site for consideration when searches are made. Also, during your site development, our experts will provide you with advice and recommendations on how to optimize your site’s “search-ability”.Traffic TrackingIt can sometimes be difficult to see how much visitor traffic your site gets. If you want to know if your site is pulling in visitors, we can implement site tracking add-ons like Google Analytics to assist you in determining your site’s success.Extras and Add-onsWe have a number of marketing packages available at reasonable prices to help you get what you need within a budget. In addition to what is provided within those packages, ByDesign Creative also offers add-ons and extras priced per project. We’re also willing to negotiate our packages. If you don’t require replicated sites, but want to include a representative locator, we can discuss swapping out package features for other options that better suit your needs.From blogs to video links, we have you covered. We also offer the unique ability to maintain your site content yourself through our Content Management System. You can login to your marketing site directly from the Freedom Corporate Back Office and actually edit the text and images yourself, without having to submit a change request!Replicated Site URL Format OptionsWith ByDesign Creative programmers, you have the option of selecting from two standard formats for your replicate site URLs. ByDesign’s team provides a unique alternative to the typical by allowing your reps to place their site name first in the URL. imaginarycompanyname.com/JohnSmith is also available as JohnSmith.imaginarycompanyname.com.A Provider You TrustByDesign has an intimate understanding of your company and how it works through the support we already provide you in using your Freedom Software. You put your trust in us to keep your business running smoothly. It simply seems logical to let us help market your organization as well.Whether you choose to go with ByDesign Creative for your marketing site design or another vendor, know that marketing your business effectively is the first key to success. Once the public knows who you are, what you do, and gains confidence in your product or service, recruiting those top sellers will be easy… well… easier!