Web Development

It’s been well established that no business today should be without a website; the best surrogate salesperson any business could have. Websites impact brands.

The web has fast become the resource of choice for those looking for virtually anything from knowledge to paper clips.
As with most technologies, price drops over time and this has occurred with web development. If your business doesn’t have a robust web presence because when you investigated a few years ago and found it too expensive; the price is affordable now. You still get what you pay for, but even the least robust site is better than no site at all.

 Unless you are particularly handy around the web, don’t try self-development for your business. Hire someone and get the job done right the first time.

There are two ways to approach website development:

1. use a “template” approach which is free or carries a nominal cost. This approach will save hundreds of decisions, but there’s a rub … what you gain in reduced decisioning you give up in flexibilitiy. A template is just that, a fixed design that pretty much gives you what you see. If you are the kind of person that likes things certain ways, have a creative eye, prefer to tweak pages, don’t go the template route, it will be more costly and more frustrating in the end.

2. use a “custom” approach, which is basically the opposite of the template approach. It will take a bit longer to get to market (not materially) and will cost somewhat more (not a lot relatively speaking) but will offer you all the flexibility and abilities to be as imaginative with your site as you can possibily image.

Whichever way you choose, you face the same baseline questions and mission critical issues:

Audience. Know your customer…authenticity rules. The accuracy with which the appropriate audience can be determined is the key factor determining success or failure of your website. No matter how competitive your product/service or how brilliant your website’s creative execution, if your core message is not on point with your audience your site will lose traction/clicks very quickly and will fail to attract business.

Offer. Since your website’s purpose is to deliver visitor action; an attractive offer is mandatory. Deficient offers fail. Offers should be compelling and evaluated on the basis of unit cost per generated dollar of revenue over the lifetime of a customer. Giveaways, research reports and other freebies when deployed judiciously can help build traffic and build product/service interest.

Positioning. It is important to position your product/service against identifiable market niches. Your website will offer targeted positioning alternatives matched to audience niches to deliver increased response. Niche trumps mass…always market to definable audiences; mass has become a mass of niches.

Creative. Create core messages that are simple yet profound, personal, highly relevant. Pay attention to the elements of good copywriting and good design. The dominant function of creative is to communicate and position your offer and convey your core message to your target audience. Brilliant creative execution can improve results over a mundane communication, but creative execution alone cannot rescue from disaster a website with confusing presentation, unclear messaging, overdone/overused creative executions, etc.

Formatting Basics. The sitemap of your website must be diligently thought through. Organize the elements on each web page, purposefully. Element placement, type size, shading, graphic placements, use of white space, margin widths, to scroll or not to scroll, customer interface points (“click here,”  “contact us,” “join us,”) to name a few must all be carefully choreographed for optimum success.

Audience Navigation, Accessibility, Usability. Navigation is how your site’s visitors move around from one page to another. The information architecture must be user-friendly meaning your visitor should be able to find what he or she is seeking within one to a maximum of two clicks. Instant gratification is a web truism. Visitors will become frustrated and abandon their search if it takes too long (measured in seconds), that’s the facts. Acceptance drives adoption…your customers will buy what they find useful; sell benefits not features. While there are “rules” that guide audience navigation, your own deep knowledge of your audience should prevail. This doesn’t mean design navigation in your own mind’s eye; it means give your customers what they want, served up in a way with which they can easily identify.

Lastly, don’t forget SEO infrastructure coding (a key reason why you shouldn’t try and build your site yourself … Click Here for more.