Business website success strategies.

16 10 2009

Website

Websites. They can be daunting. Most businesses have their own version, built with different infrastructures and with different functionalities. And haven’t you at some point been completely frustrated with a website – either by its lack of information or its lack of functionality? As a joke between my friends, we are often aghast at how hard companies make it for consumers to give them money.

On that note, let’s talk about those all to familiar issues that we have with bad websites. Entrepreneur had a great article recently entitled, “5 Things I Hate About Your Website.” It listed the following:

  • Your contact information is not visible on your home page.
  • You only offer me a fill-in e-mail form.
  • You have no phone number.
  • Your “About Us” page doesn’t tell when your company was founded, or by whom.
  • Your “News” or “Press” page has no media contacts – or no information listed at all.

This is a great start to the discussion, but I can add a couple more myself. For instance, I’m always shocked when I receive an e-mail, after my order has been placed, to find out that there was no inventory to order in the first place. This is a basic back-end distribution functionality that should be a part of any retail website. Or when the only contact information listed is a link to upload an Office browser – I’d much prefer the actual e-mail address to copy/paste.

I’m sure I could come up with many other petty issues to discuss, but it’s a better use of time to talk about the successful strategies that make websites great. The whole point of building a website is to increase your return on investment – investment in your business and investment in your website. In theory, what strategies make it successful?

Customers. A lot of times businesses create websites that focus completely on acquiring new customers, leaving out any benefit for maintaining relationships with existing customers. Customer obsession is an evolving strategy of promoting solutions, for both new and old customers.

Employees. Often times, businesses consider websites to be used only by customers, when they can also support internal operations and owner/employee needs. Simply data mining can be a hassle if the back end of a website isn’t set up for a company’s needs.

Design. Having a strategic website design helps you reach your business goals. It has to have an interface that communicates function; a function that may be to sell products, to deliver informational content, to entertain, to inform or to provide access to a service. Additionally, any small or big, corporate or small business should include these pages and information to make a website with a professional look and feel.

Promotion. Social media and search engine optimization are key components to creating a website that successfully promotes your business. Websites can offer great tools for inviting and engaging traffic. Promotion also includes the presentation of your image and brand, both of which should be highly visible all throughout your site.

In the end, planning and strategy are key. Creating the right website is like hiring the right employee for the position. With clear goals in mind, you will be rewarded with a lucrative asset to your business. And if you already have a website, here are some tips to a successful website redesign.

Like any other project a part of your business, creating or redesigning your website requires strategic goals, scalability and resource budgeting. It’s completely worthwhile and has the potential to provide a great return on your investment.

Photo courtesy of FlashDaWeb.

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