If you’re like many of the companies I encounter, your web site has become your most important marketing tool. It allows you to deliver countless amounts of new information without printing or mailing expenses. It is your online portfolio.
It’s the voice of your company 24 hours a day. It can offer customers your latest promotions or house an entire catalog of information.
Simply having a Website however is not enough. It needs to be built properly and maintained to suit users needs and the needs of your company. So, if you’re spending money on hosting and a domain name just to have a Website, you may be letting your site take advantage of your checkbook.
Your site is a tool, and like every tool works best when it’s used properly. To make sure you are putting it to proper use start by determining what your needs are and what style of Website suits you best. Website design offers many options; be sure you are familiar with them to best serve your business needs.
First, understand what your customers’/audience needs are, and what kind of web site works best to bring information about how your company fulfills those customer’s needs. There may be elements of one kind or another, that you find you can combine to build the perfect power-seller site for your business. If your information is simple and updates rarely, it may suit you best to have a web site administrator offsite to make any changes. It can save a lot of valuable time and money.
CMS: (Content Management System) A web site with a built-in CMS gives you the ability to manage the content of your web site. Some companies update their information frequently. This can get costly and slow you down. With CMS you can do it yourself.
E-Commerce: If your business sells products, consider a web site that functions as a store, allowing users to view and choose sizes, models, colors, styles and quantities, as well as pay securely via credit or debit cards, or even PayPal.
Database: If you are in Real Estate or carry a heavy volume of products, you need a database to store information, which in turn allows for search features built into your site that would retrieve the data the users are looking
Intranet: For a lot of companies it’s important to have a private company-only viewed web site to share documents, information memos, forms, calendars, meetings, or email systems with 1 database they can all draw from.
Once you’ve selected the style Website that works best for you, there’s one more very important piece to keep it from taking advantage of your pocketbook – keep your content fresh. You have the potential to connect with millions of people, now it’s up to you to hook them and keep them interested with new information.
If you write articles or newsletters make sure you post them on your site and change them every month or two. If you’re selling a product, make sure you have the latest merchandise. It will keep your site visitors coming back.
Nothing looks worse than a “News” or “What’s New” section that hasn’t been updated since 2004. Keeping your site fresh and functioning effectively is a critical business tool, and will help your company rank higher in search engines.
Be smart: make sure your web site works to your best advantage in the business world every second of the day.