Website Success - October 2003


Whether you're concerned with business-to-business, or business to consumer, whether your organization is large or small, commercial or nonprofit...

There are some fundamental questions around your website and technology strategy that should be addressed to ensure success.

Otherwise, you risk missing opportunities, and not maximizing the return on your investment in your online presence.

12website for Sunshine Coast website success: Caloundra, Buderim, Brisbane business web design.

If you haven't visited your own website for a while, look at it again in light of these questions:

Maybe you are just not getting "them in the door - your website homepage ".

Take your time - this is the key to one successful website or a number of successful websites linked together.

12website has been redesigning and upgrading poor performance websites for over 7 years using these guidelines. Web site Redesign
Contact us for help.

1. Does your website present an appropriate image of your company?
Marketers talk a lot about branding, and consistency of message.
Does your company site reflect how you'd like your customers to feel about your business? Is it sophisticated, and professional looking? Does it speak directly to visitors in language that they'll understand, and in ways that relate to their issues and
needs?

Image is also about public relations. Publicity is a powerful marketing tool, and reporters are increasingly looking for stories and information online. Does your website offer a media center? Does it offer comment on current events in your industry? Do you face up to the bad news, and spin it to your advantage? Whatever you may think of Microsoft, check out their extensive Press Pass area at:

www.microsoft.com/presspass/default.asp

2. Does your Website suggest potential for new or currently untapped markets?
In almost all the sites that I've consulted for, we've identified markets or audiences beyond the "real-world" customer base of the business.

This may be because the site extends the geographic reach of your marketing. If you have good content on your site, it may also be because visitors looking for your subject area find you in search engines and come to read your articles and white papers.

Either way, if you find many "non-traditional" visitors to your site, you should assess whether they constitute a possible new market area for your business. Beware of Fast Profit or Fast Talk.

3. Does your website suggest potential for new products or services?
A clear understanding of your visitor needs may also encourage you to consider new products or services. On the Web, bundling expertise into downloadable, for-sale content provides valuable new revenue streams for many businesses and non-profits.

You can find great clues for development ideas by tracking the keywords entered into your own site search engine. These show what visitors expect to find on your site - and therefore what they expect your company to offer.

4. Does your Website provide continuing added value for existing customers?
Most site owners focus on acquiring new customers and fail to maximize the opportunities to support and service existing ones.

These include password-protected areas where your clients can follow the progress of their projects, share documents with you, etc. Personalisation and pre-populated forms (i.e. which are automatically filled in with the customer's details) help to create a feeling of value and save time for your visitors.

Check the average response time for a contact from your Website.
One of the top complaints about major company sites is that e-
mails are not answered in a timely (hopefully 24 hours or less)
manner.

5. Does your website support your internal operations and
employee needs?
This question relates to whether you're making the best use of
all available technologies and integrating them with your
online operations.

Example applications to consider include:

* Instant messaging - fast becoming a serious business tool

* Knowledge bases - continually updated databases that can
provide automated customer support on a 24/7 basis

* Streaming media - perhaps for just-in-time training or
on-the-spot manuals for your operatives

* Intranets and extranets - which are really just fancy names
for password-protected employee and client areas.


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6. Does your Website integrate fully with your "real-world"
activities and processes?
One of the most frustrating visitor experiences is to complete a
form, an application, or to submit a search on your Website,
only to receive an error message. 12website produces
error free forms and interaction.

Customers want the security of an e-mailed purchase confirmation.
Our
ecommerce shops confirm all purchases.
They want to know that they'll be taken off your mailing list
quickly and without the need for multiple requests.

With the complexity of technology and programs today, sometimes
a change to a seemingly unrelated system can wreak havoc. Do you
regularly check all the input forms and processes on your site
to ensure that no unexpected gremlins have crept in?

7. Does your Website provide you with a justifiable return on
investment - ROI?
This is probably the most important question of the seven and
possibly also the most difficult.

That's because the answer depends on a clear understanding of
the goals of your site, both in direct financial terms, and in
other less tangible benefits, such as name recognition.

The keys to evaluating ROI, to improving your site, and often to
further business development ideas can be found in your traffic
reports. These show what visitors are looking for, how long
they spend on the site, where they go, where they leave, and
what rate of response you get to the various calls to action.

These reports can be daunting - a mass of figures, graphs and
URL's. But I strongly suggest that someone in your organization
understand them. Otherwise, you're shooting in the dark with
your Web investment.

At 12website we address all of the above issues.
Let us advise you.
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