Thursday, March 8, 2012

Do you have a web presence that wins?

Long gone are the days when just a brochure version of a website would suffice. Today, in addition to unique graphics and compelling copy, a website with bells and whistles is essential for a business. Some might go one step further and say that an amazing website is mission-critical for business success.

A book by Philippa Gamse reinforces that belief. The book is 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins – Essential Business Strategy for Website and Social Media Success. As Jim Blasingame explained in the foreword, “Thanks to the Internet and associated elements and resources, customers have new expectations that preclude those traditional business models that are not supported by a complementary online strategy. Your existing customers are online deciding who to do business with before you know they’re interested, and prospects are doing the same thing before you even know they exist. At this moment, merely being competitive isn’t enough – you will also have to be relevant...If you seek that twenty-first century marketing strategy that youre going to need to forge your way successfully in the Age of the Customer, you’ve found your guide, Philippa Gamse.

Philippa’s book is full of excellent web strategies, but here are some of my favorites:
  • Appoint your web ambassador – this person is in charge of your web presence and also analyzes and understands the traffic information.
  • Think outside departmental boundaries – many, if not all, departments should have a voice in a company’s overall website strategy – no single department should create the site in a tunnel.
  • Make informed technology choices – avoid the common trap of designing solutions to work within current constraints, your technology choices must support your goals but should not dictate them.
  • Know if your site needs a touch-up vs. a complete makeover.
  • Learn to tell the baby from the bathwater – make sure that coding differentiates page URLs so that all are unique (for example, there is only one home page, so multiple pages should not link to the home page) – do not allow designers to focus on a design that ignores search engines and specific calls to action.
  • Identify all of your audiences – and keep them all in mind.
  • Leverage everything – every page should have a strategy.
  • Show up and be real – the “About Us” section of a website or social media site is critical, so don’t ignore it because you already know about your company.

There are hundreds or even thousands of web design, development, and strategy books available, but 42 Rules is a must-read because you can implement the rules each time you refresh your site.

Connect on Twitter:!/pgamse

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