Creating and Maintaining a Web Site that will Blow Away the Competition
Whether you are planning your first e-commerce web site or redesigning an existing one, there are many important conventions and standards to consider. Keeping your site up-to-date and current is no small feat.This article will discuss the
Introduction: Building and Maintaining Relationships with Customers Numerous experts have made it clear that the entire purpose for being in business is to procure new customers and keep existing customers. This information relates to any Internet business; whether the company's web presence is a full blown e-commerce style website or a more basic brochure-style website.
The profits and growth of a company are all contingent on this one variable. So, whether the business is a brick and mortar retail establishment that wishes to extend its reach into the international market; or, a one-man shop with nothing more than a shingle on the Internet, the primary focus should be procuring new customers and maintaining relationships with existing customers. A company's website will be the gateway to its Customer Relationship Management.
So, it is imperative to understand how to communicate with your customers the way that the customers want to communicate, rather than the old style of e-commerce where a company would develop an Internet presence and expect miraculous profitability. A clear understanding of this dynamic can position a company's online presence leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Analysis and Planning There is a significant amount of truth to the expression that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. So, it is essential to begin the marketing communication process with careful analysis of the businesses´┐Ż current status and both long and short term goals.
To start off this phase leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, one may wish to consider performing a SWOT analysis of the existing marketing plan and social media policy. This is extremely important. Only by properly analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends can a company assemble a marketing plan that will blow the socks off of the competition. Once a company fully understands the state of its current Internet Presence, then they can start setting goals. When Expert Website Services assists their clients to develop marketing plans, the experts recommend using the model referred to as SMART Goals.
Your first advantage over your competition will be to have goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely and Tangible. For a goal to be specific, it must answer the who, what, where, when, which, and why. For example, each goal should address the following:
1) Who is the target audience for this particular goal? Who will be responsible or accountable for making sure this goal is achieved?
2) What is the desired outcome for this target market?
3) Where will this particular goal be achieved? Is it on a website? Or, does it involve a number of locations, such as social media outlets?
4) When will this be done? Anyone familiar with software development knows that the only way you can control the completion date of a project is by starting it sooner rather than later.
5) Which elements are involved? What are the specific requirements and constraints to achieving this goal?
6) The Why involves the specific measurable outcome or the benefit to the business owner, for accomplishing this particular goal.
Welcome to Web 2.0 - Online Collaboration Now that the business has been analyzed and some tangible goals have been set, it is time to delve into the physical qualities of your online presence.
Consider these facts:
* According to Google, there are approximately 1 trillion unique URLs in Google's database at any given time.
* Not all of these pages are indexed
* Google processes approximately 2 billion searches each day
* There are over 10 million articles on Wikipedia in over 260 languages. Many educational institutions now consider this to be an acceptable academic reference even more reliable than Encyclopedia Britannica. Why? Because of collaboration.
* More than 100 million videos are viewed on You Tube every day.
* Twitter passes along more than 4 million tweets each day.
* Facebook has over 200 million users, 1/2 of which log in each day.
* The average Facebook user has 100 friends that know each others' experience with various online merchants.
What do these figures all mean? They mean that in order for a company/s Internet presence to surpass that of its competition, the website needs to allow for the same type of cross platform communication and collaboration! It is not as complicated as it may sound.
Really! Take a deep breath and understand what Web 2.0 refers to is simply the ability for online users to communicate and collaborate with the company's online presence. It is these interactive components that are tantamount to successfully blowing away the competition! What Does this Mean? The core components include:
1) Make certain the company's online presence is up to speed with technology (Web 2.0, Collaborative, and Interactive)
2) Make certain the company's online presence bridges the gap between the Generation Y population and Baby Boomers
3) Make certain the company's online presence includes dynamic content
4) Make certain the company's online presence includes automated syndication with popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and yes - Even YouTube
5) Make certain the company's marketing plan looks toward the future. Be sure to choose a platform that will allow the company to add or modify functions without having to start completely over as technology changes into the new generation of Internet Marketing and Internet-based commerce.
6) Peace of mind. Choosing a hosting provider that will work to provide ongoing assurance of PCI compliance.
Bridging the Gap between Generation Y and the Baby Boomers This year, 2010, the number of people from generation y will surpass the number of baby boomers in the workplace. This generation will be making just as many, if not more decisions with regard to where and what to buy.
For the business owners that have not kept up, these are the people who will not answer their phones or return calls; but, they will respond instantaneously to a post on facebook or a text message. Many of them will not buy products or services if they cannot do it online, instantly, without having to talk to someone. However, we cannot omit the need to keep things simple for the baby boomers and other generations that work in an opposing paradigm. So, the only option a savvy Internet entrepreneur has is to provide a mechanism for the collaboration to keep up with Web 2.0 yet maintain a simple and stable platform for the comfort of technologically challenged or frightened customers. Dynamic Content The need for dynamic content prevails over the older model of just posting static content.
For some, this may involve only minor modifications or redesign to an existing website. For others, it may mean the development of an entirely new web application.
WordPress, FCKEditor , DotNetNuke, and a number of other platforms exist to help non-technical web business owners manage content and keep it fresh. There is certainly a direct correlation between the need for dynamic content, syndication, and the automation of posting to various social networking sites. Automation and Syndication of a Company Website, Blog, and Social Media portals congruent with the Company's Internet marketing plan A few years ago, automation was a term developers used to describe database managed websites, customer login authentication; or the ability to pull reports. Today's online environment creates new meaning for automation. News travels fast and a primary goal for Internet merchants should be to automate and syndicate the information so that their time can be better spent staying ahead of the game rather than directing traffic. This means you should set your website up as the hub of information for your business. From there, you can automatically syndicate the information to a variety of social media portals.
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Name: Kevin Taylor
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Kevin S. Taylor, MBA is the Chief Executive Officer of Expert Website Services, an innovative Los Vegas Web Design firm http://www.expertwebsiteservices.com