Jan 29, 2011

Designing Your Web Site and Registering with the DTI

I received an e-mail a few minutes ago from a mom asking me if we need to register with the DTI if we put up a Web site, and also, what are the do's and don'ts we need to remember when creating a Web site.

So to answer:

Do I need to register my Web site with the DTI?

First, let us set the following presumptions:

  1. We are talking about a business Web site that you use to advertise and conduct business over the Internet.
  2. You are conducting your business with a trade name, like Escrive.com, not your own name, like FleireCastro.com.
  3. You intend to get a business permit for your business.
If all three presumptions are correct, then yes, you do need to register with the DTI. It is not your Web site that you need to register, of course, but your trade name.

Why? Because the municipal registrar will be looking for your DTI registration when you apply for your business permit.

Now some of you may be asking, why would I want to go through the hassle of getting a business permit and, as a result, needing to pay taxes on my business?

Well, for one, it's the law-abiding thing to do.

Second, you need your DTI registration to register your business with the BIR so that you can issue an official receipt in case somebody asks for one. Also, if your online business is your sole source of income,  you need to register it with the BIR so that you can get an ITR, because there are times when you need to show proof of income.

I hope this has answered our reader mom's first question. Now let's go on to the next:

What are the do's and don'ts one should remember when putting up a Web site.

Now this is a question probably best answered by a Web designer, which I am not. But here's what I've learned so far from putting up my business Web sites:

  • Do make sure you include a contact number and e-mail address if you are creating a business Web site. A physical address would also help establish your trustworthiness online.
  • Do write a detailed and semi-personal About Us page. This is a very good way to establish your credibility and also gain your customers' trust, as well as their affinity. Get as personal as you can get without endangering your personal safety and privacy. We like to know that we are dealing with living, breathing, feeling human beings behind a Web site.
  • Do research first what keywords you want your Web site to target. Do you want people to find your site using dog or dogs? Doggy day care or doggy daycare or doggie day care?

    I use the Google Keyword Search Tool, which shows me that of all five terms, dog gets searched 246,000 times in the Philippines, while dogs is searched only 90,500 times, and the latter has more competition too. Doggy day care gets 170 searches, doggy daycare and doggie daycare both get 73.

    Since keyword research is a vast topic, I will write a separate post on it, but this is the most basic: find the most number of searches with the least competition in your targeted locality.
  • Do include a Privacy Policy if you're putting Google Ads on your Web site. It's a Google requirement. You can get one from JenSense.
  • Don't fill your page with too many ads. When is it "too many"? I'd suggest you ask a sibling or your mate to look at your site and ask what they think of it. If they say it looks too cluttered, you probably have too many ads. If they don't say that, probe further: "Do you find the ads too distracting?" The answer will let you know if you need to cut down.

    By the way, don't ask a friend -- he or she will probably lie to you to be polite.

  • Don't fill your page with too many widgets either. To find out if you have too many widgets, see the tip above about "too many ads."

That's all I could come up with. For more do's and don'ts for designing your Web site, click on the link.

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