Author: Yogi Schulz
Are you disappointed with the results you’ve achieved from your company’s web presence? Are cobwebs growing on your web site? Web sites, that exhibit the same style appeal as recycled dresses, waste money and undermine the image that you want to cultivate.
Promotion, content and performance are critical to web site success. In this article I will describe a series of low-cost solutions to common web site problems that can breathe new life into your web presence. In the 21st century, it’s become difficult to meet ambitious business goals with a boring web presence.
“Build it and they will come” only works in movies. Owners of successful web sites have defined and are executing a proactive promotion strategy.
It’s cheap and easy to place your domain name on all company communication. I include letters, invoices, business cards, e-mails, advertisements. For example, every box of Purdy’s chocolates contains a business card with the company’s name and web site address.
Some companies find it cost-effective to appear as Sponsored Links on web search results through either Google AdWords or Yahoo Overture Precision Matches.
Build and maintain an e-mail list of as many of the staff at every customer as possible. Create similar lists of prospects and individuals you want to turn into customers. Don’t spam these people but send them a short, regular e-mail newsletter with links back to your web site. Aeroplan and various hotel chains do this well.
For good ideas on improving your web site promotion, go to www.anduro.com or www.foundpages.com.
Many web sites have turned into rusted, irrelevant relics of the Internet boom after their owners became bored or disenchanted with their web sites. Web sites are not one-time projects. The care and feeding of your web site is a maintenance activity much like maintaining company machinery or mowing the lawn in front of the headquarters building.
Developing a continuing stream of compelling content, that will attract and keep your audience interested, requires some investment and some management attention but it doesn’t have to be onerous.
Implement a content management system and assign responsibility for content development. You’ll be surprised by the number of interesting events your company can brag about once you start thinking in these terms regularly. Good examples of appealing content include product announcements, pages that duplicate advertisements from other media, investor information and customer resources to enhance the value of the purchase they’ve made. For good examples, explore the City of Calgary and the CE Franklin web sites. If you want to tour what others see as superior web sites, go to Favourite Website Awards.
To dig deeper into winning makeover ideas for your web site, go to www.useit.com or www.uie.com.
Poor web site performance forces your audience to stare at the hourglass for too long. We’re all impatient. Hourglasses are boring. Don’t inflict this problem on the very audience you are trying to reach.
Frequently, performance problems are due to an excessive use of Flash. While Flash can be a wonderful visual communication medium, don’t impose it on your audience. Offer links that start with: “For a Flash-based look at our product, click here”. This link provides choice and an implied warning to be a little patient. The Macromedia Flash Gallery contains several examples of superior Flash use that do not overwhelm.
Overly large pictures that are saved at a high resolution that the typical monitor can’t display will cause unnecessary performance problems. Re-save the picture in a smaller size and at a lower resolution.
Use of excessive resolution, frame rate and frame size for video will cause poor performance. For a good example of the use of video, look at the hotel tours at expedia.com.
Keep pages small. Less than 150 kb is best. For the best example of fast performance, time your Google experience.
Pro-active promotion, compelling content and fast performance are critical to web site success. Superior web sites perform quickly and create a memorable experience; even for serious subjects.
For some excellent examples of what not to do with your web site, go to www.webpagesthatsuck.com. You don’t ever want your web site to be exposed for public ridicule at this web site.
C E Franklinhttp://www.cefranklin.com/index4.html
FoundPagesFoundPages is a Calgary based Internet Marketing firm
Favourite Website Awardshttp://www.favouritewebsiteawards.com
Macromedia Flash Galleryhttp://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/flashpro/video/gallery/
Top Flash Galleryhttp://www.greg.ch/flash/
Yahoo Overture Precision Matchhttp://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/marketing/overture.php?t=3
Intergraph Holiday Greetinghttp://imgs.intergraph.com/egreeting/