Most of the time the client is fully aware of what he wants his website to convey, and he has an idea of his budgetary limits. But the web designer, with abundant creative talents, has different perceptions**.** It is therefore important that the website owner and web designer agree on the three basic parameters – estimated cost, time frame, and broad specifications. It’s preferable to clearly define the objectives and write out the briefs before embarking on the web project.
- Clearly set website objectives, understand the budgetary constraints and the time frame for completion.
- Analyze the websites of competitors and explore opportunities one can seize from the Internet market place.
- Study ways to capture the attention of visitors and keep them on the site.
- The web designer should provide a choice of visuals for a proposed finished site.
- The designer and the client meet to finalize the design and architecture of the website.
- Web application programmers hold responsibility for the task of coding.
- Organize effective website content bearing in mind that ‘content is king.’
- The most crucial step is optimizing the website for high SERP (Search Engine Page Rank).
- Ensure that the website passes tests of validation and meets the requirement of DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and web accessibility.
Once the website is built, its success will be measured by studying traffic and sales inquiries the site generates. The site has to be continuously managed with new and updated content.
The Wrong Way
It’s unfortunate that most businesses pay scant attention to website building. The general feeling is that a web presence is necessary as a status symbol or because the competitors are running websites. Lack of vision in building websites invariably causes companies to fill the web pages with mission statements, photos of the management team, ill-presented product details, and some empty rhetoric. Several sites carry unwanted information about the company’s organizational structure, unaware that visitors are not interested in the company’s internal structure.
Outsourcing the web project in a fragmented way to multiple agencies, all working at cross purposes, is a recipe for disaster. The combined efforts of the multiple agencies with differing perceptions will totally distort web pages and make the site directionless.
Any site set up in an extravagant fashion with total disregard to the cost factor can spell doom as well: There will not be enough money left to maintain the site and regularly update the content. Care must be exercised not to waste linking opportunities. It is best to avoid linking the homepage to the ads as most do**.** It is also wrong to treat the Web as if it were an online brochure, without realizing its full impact and how it can serve as a powerful marketing tool.
The Right Way
Businesses must understand the value of a website and see it as an opportunity to provide product information to customers and create a sales platform. Care must be exercised to ensure the site is designed with customers’ needs in mind, and not overly focusing on a company’s background.
The entire site must be customer-focused and provide visitors maximum details about the products and services the company offers. A website should be cohesive in appearance, as well as consistent in performance, and it can be best achieved when the web project has a manager or an apex team with a vision that can set a direction for others to follow.
The annual maintenance budget for a website will be equal to the initial cost of setting up the site. The website has to be built within the budgeted amount and an ongoing financial allocation will be needed to update content and revise pages whenever necessary.
There is no denying that the Web is a linking medium and the hypertext links are what helps users discover new and useful sites. It will be helpful to the visitor if a direct link is provided to the product page from the ad. The Web should be construed as one of the most potent weapons to conduct business in this Internet age.