My recommendation is that you take a phased approach to the implementation. Otherwise it could be a while before you get everything you want together.
The most important pages which should be included in the first phase are:
|-- About Us
|-- Contact Us
|-- "One Sheet" (or Products or Services)
Home -- This page should contain what people are looking for, not what you feel they need to hear. It's the page that is going to get you noticed in the search engines. It should include a compelling call to action which is designed to have them contact you or continue looking around on the site. Keywords are extremely important on this page.
About Us -- Answer this question: What do you really look for when you click on one of these pages on any website? For me, this is the page where I go to look for credibility. Testimonials, credentials, samples of work and success stories.
Contact Us -- You've got the basics down. However, unless you are setup to receive people during normal business hours, I'm not so sure that including your physical address is a good idea. Look at it this way, if they really need the information, they will give you a call and the site will have achieved its goal. A couple of things that you didn't mention here are: 1) An automated confirmation email sent to the visitor and 2) A thank you page confirming that the message was successfully submitted and that someone will get back to them within XXX amount of time.
One Sheet -- The one piece of marketing that no professional speaker should be without. You can call the actual physical page "Products" or "Services" just to get Search engines used to indexing the page. You can always put your One Sheet somewhere else down the road and re-purpose the existing page.
This will enable you to get some initial valuable content that can be picked up by the search engines. The rest can be developed in the background and turned on (publicly visible) as it is ready.
It should be possible to implement such a plan within a couple of weeks, even if the theme (the look) is not quite ready.
With more and more mobile devices coming on the Internet, be sure that your website includes suppor for mobile technology. I have seen a number of WordPress plug-ins which as supposed to enable websites to be usable with Smartphones. These even come built-in with some themes. With their rapid increase in popularity, it might be nice to include this feature from the ground up instead of trying to retrofit it later on.
You should also mention that you want your website to appear and work properly with all of the major web browsers. Some developers only take Firefox into consideration even though Internet Explorer is still more popular. Chrome is also quickly gaining in popularity and will probably have surpassed both Internet Explorer and Firefox by the time you read this. To see the popularity of the different web browser, visit CanIUse.com. It's important to note here that, although Safari doesn't have a huge user base, it is still an important browser because it is what is used by almost all Apple folks.
How well is your site actually doing?
Google Analytics is your friend. Anyone who doesn't include a way for you to monitor traffic to your website shouldn't come anywhere close to your site. This is by far the most important tool that is going to provide you with feedback on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
It is extremely important that the template be optimized for SEO. Otherwise, it won't matter what you do on your webpage to try to get noticed by search engines. Think of search engines as blind users. It can't see images, can't watch videos. Depending on the PDF, sometimes they can't even understand it's content. Search engines use headers to determine the context of what follows, just like a blind person would.
Speaking of which, the Government of Ontario has passed provincial regulations regarding accessibility that you may need to take into consideration. Regardless of where you live, check the local regulations. Either way, implementing accessibility standards is always a good idea. Search engines, for example, can't see what a page will look like and depend on being able to interpret the layout and content of your web pages. The better you can help them understand the content on your website, the more qualified traffic they will send you. This all starts with the theme but extends into how your content is presented as well.
WordPress Related Resources
Some WordPress plug-ins which may be of interest to you for your website include:
[[ THIS LIST IS TO BE REVISED ]]
- WishList Member: Enables you to have a membership site.
- Thesis -- A highly customizable and SEO ready theme. There is another one that I also recommend but the name escapes me right now.
- Akismet: Prevents junk (spam) comments in your blog where commenting is enabled. (also see Spam Karma 2 & SpamKarma 2 Akismet Plugin)
- WordPress Polls -- Add polls in posts and sidebars
- Events Calendar -- Allows you to add events to your site.
- WordPress Affiliate Store Plugin -- Add products to your WP blog from any of the major affiliate networks such as LinkShare, Commission Junction, ShareASale, Performics, LinkConnector, or Betty Mills.
- WP Mobile -- Automatically provide mobile device support on your site. Also see WPTouch which automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme.
- Google XML Sitemaps -- Creates a Google Sitemap for your WordPress blog. Also see Dragon Design Sitemap Generator.
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