I empathize with business owners who get frustrated when faced with the task of creating or upgrading a company Web site. Let’s face it, the Web is in its relative infancy, and infants are notoriously temperamental. Worse yet, they tend to outgrow their clothes a bit too quickly.
On the Web, even great firms dedicated to delivering quality can be challenged to keep up. So where should the average business owner begin? As with any other marketing decision, one should have a plan that considers company objectives and return on investment. Here are three recommendations for ensuring your company’s success:
The primary reason Web sites fail is a lack of established goals. A successful project relies on clear, legitimate objectives. Typical goals might include generating Web or phone leads, decreasing support calls or facilitating your customers’ ordering process.
Specifying objectives increases the likelihood of success. Of course, fulfilling company objectives brings associated costs. A good firm will walk you through the process of understanding the costs and anticipated benefits related to various features, giving you information needed to help establish priorities and a reasonable budget.
Consider required skills
Content and marketing: Good content is the heart of a successful Web site. Consider whether you will need help with copy writing, photography, illustration or audio/video production. Furthermore, remember that your site’s content should reflect company objectives and be kept fresh through constant updates. A vendor’s expertise in search engine optimization (SEO) also should have a prominent place in your selection criteria. SEO is not a one-time effort, but rather an ongoing activity involving time and significant skill. Finally, ask potential vendors about e-mail marketing and how they approach this tool in relation to overall marketing objectives. While distinct from your Web site, properly constructed e-mail campaigns are effective tools that enhance your Web marketing efforts.