The Internet and corporate Intranets, particularly the World Wide
Web, are changing the way we do business. These networks empower
people to get the information they need, quickly and easily, regardless
of its physical location. In addition, they provide a high level
of interaction between people and information, so the information
delivered can be custom-tailored to meet the needs of each individual.
As a result, the Internet and Intranets are growing at an unparalleled
rate, and bringing about a revolution in business and communication.
Today, approximately 2,800,000 Web sites are in operation, and more
are being added daily-not only on the Internet, but also on private
Intranets. In fact, at the beginning of 1998, nearly 98 percent
of Fortune 1000 companies implemented Web servers
on their Intranets,.
Implementing a Web site may be one of the most important moves
your company makes. Web sites, with their nearly universal reach
and highly-interactive nature, present opportunities that are
not available through other means. Through Web sites, organizations
can increase revenues, decrease costs and build tighter relationships
with their customers, employees and business partners.
But Web sites can require substantial investments to create and
maintain. Web site spending by companies ranges from $15,000 for
small companies to more than $1 million for large companies. Whether
you are considering a Web site for the Internet or your Intranet,
it's important that you plan and implement it carefully. Only
in this way will you realize the full potential of your site and
gain a handsome return on your investment.
Planning and building a Web site requires expertise in a wide
variety of new areas, including Web technologies, the unique aspects
of the Web as a medium and the cyberworld resources available,
such as Web search engines and Web advertising, to help you generate
traffic to your site. To get on the Web quickly, without sacrificing
the effectiveness or quality of your Web site, you may want to
seek assistance from outside organizations that specialize in
Web planning, deployment and refinement.
This paper describes the explosive growth of Web technology and
its potential. It also presents a six-step, business-oriented
process for planning, deploying and maintaining an effective Web
site. These steps provide an overview of the factors you need
to consider in incorporating the power of the Web into your business.
Use these steps as a guide to help you tap the full potential
of the Web and make it an integral part of your overall business
Web technology makes possible exciting new business models for
marketing, communications, commerce, publishing, advertising,
client/server applications, telephony, business process optimization,
entertainment and eventually broadcasting. With a Web site, an
organization can reach a worldwide audience of literally millions
of people, quickly and effectively. Because the Web is interactive,
it can custom-tailor the information it delivers to each person
for maximum impact. That's why organizations and individuals are
implementing Web sites at an astonishing rate.
Today, Web site expenditures topped $2.6 billion by 1998. The Yankee
Group estimates that annual Web
site spending by companies with less than 100 employees ranges
from $15,000 to $25,000. For companies with between 100 and 500
employees, that range increases to $75,000 to $125,000. For companies
with more than 500 employees, annual Web site spending is estimated
to range between $250,000 and $1 million.
The potential audience on the Internet is enormous. More than
150 million Americans now use the Internet, 9 million of whom started
using it in 1996. International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts
that in 1999, there will be 199 million Internet users. The Web
is a particularly attractive medium because it reaches consumers
as well as business users. Today, 40 percent of computer users
in business are connected to the Internet compared to 30 percent
of home users. IDC expects the percentage of both to more than
double by the year 2000, increasing to 95 percent of home and
95 percent of business computer users connected.
- There are about 2,800,000 Web sites
in operation today.
- Web site expenditures tops
$2.6 billion today.
- 31 percent of todayís Web-based
businesses are profitable.
- IDC estimates that there will be
199 million Internet users in 1999.
- 75 percent of business computer
users and 50 percent of home users are already connected to the
A business-oriented approach
to effective Web sites
Because of the attractive potential of Web technology--such as
its worldwide reach and ability to interact with users-and the
apparent ease of building sites, many organizations are rushing
headlong to establish Internet and Intranet Web sites. But many
are taking a haphazard approach, resulting in wasted money and,
more significantly, lost opportunity. Forrester Research found
that one of the most common mistakes companies make when implementing
Web sites is not having a clear vision or purpose for the sites.
Web sites can represent a significant investment in time and resources.
That's why, whether you are considering a Web site for the public
Internet or your corporate Intranet, it's important that you pursue
a well thought-out process in planning, implementing and monitoring
The following sections of this paper present a business-oriented
approach to planning, deploying and refining your Web site. By
addressing the factors identified in this process, you can take
full advantage of the power of Web sites to maintain a competitive
edge. There are six fundamental steps in the process:
- Step 1: Understand the medium
- Step 2: Plan your Web site
A. Define your goals
- Step 3: Deploy your Web site
- Step 4: Market your Web site
- Step 5: Analyze the results
- Step 6: Refine and maintain your Web site
These steps are presented individually in the following sections.
Step 1: Understand the
Before you can realize the full benefits of a Web site, you need
to understand the capabilities of the Web and the exciting possibilities
unleashed by these capabilities. There are three stages to reaching
this understanding: lay the foundation; understand the possibilities
of Internet Web sites; and understand the possibilities of Intranet
Lay the foundation
In laying the foundation, it is important to consider three factors.
First, understand the nature of the Internet and corporate Intranetóin
particular the nature of the Web as a unique and dynamic medium.
The Web has aspects that are similar to other media: it can be
used to disseminate information, to target specific audiences
and to generate direct response. It also has many aspects that
are new and different from other media.
One of the most important differences of the Web as a medium is
its interactive nature. The successful Web players are not simply
businesses in the new online medium, they are taking full advantage
of the unique, interactive nature of the Internet." This
applies equally to Internet and Intranet Web sites. To exploit
interaction fully, you need to become aware of the dynamics of
users' interaction with Web sites.
The second factor to consider in laying the foundation is to understand
your competitors' Web presence. This includes an understanding
of the brands and products they are emphasizing, their promotional
plans and main messages, their target audience and how they are
reaching these targets.
The Web itself provides a rich source of competitive information.
Many of your competitors probably post a wealth of information
about themselves on the Web. You can use this information to learn
their products and positioning. You can also evaluate their Web
expertise by the quality and functionality of their Web sites.
The third factor to consider in laying the foundation is to understand
the flexibility and responsiveness made possible by the Web. The
Web provides an exciting opportunity to experiment and learn.
Unlike more static media, you can quickly incorporate new ideas
into your site and observe the effects of changes to content,
organization and navigation. According to the Business Week
article cited earlier, "The successful Web trailblazers exhibit
the ability to adapt, to scrap what's not working and improvise
a new business plan on the fly."
Understand the possibilities of Internet
After you have laid the foundation for learning, you can familiarize
yourself with the potential of Internet Web sites. Remember, the
Internet extends your reach to a worldwide audience, and it allows
you to interact with that audience. The possibilities are exciting:
- Reach new audiences. The Web provides a new and unique
opportunity to reach audiences that have been impossible or hard
to reach with traditional media. For example, the 18 to 34 year-old
audience represents an estimated 40 percent of Internet Web surfers.
Not only can you reach new audiences, you can also present richer
messages than with other media. That's because the Web's
multimedia capabilities can include audio, video and animation.
An Internet Web site can
- Reach new audiences.
- Sell products and services.
- Generate brand awareness.
- Increase customer satisfaction.
- Disseminate information.
- Receive feedback.
- Automate business processes.
- Sell products and services. A recent report by Forrester
indicates that consumers are eager to buy products online. The
report predicts that goods will be sold online to up to $6.6 billion by the
year 2000. Many companies use the Web as an additional sales channel
that augments their existing, traditional channels. Through the
Web, these companies are exposing their products and services
to new audiences that are not available to their traditional channels.
Large as well as small businesses are taking advantage of the
Web. Dell Computer, for example, opened its Web store in July
- Enhance brand awareness. A Web site can deliver a richer
brand identity than other media. You can augment traditional text
and graphics with more engaging multimedia, including animation,
audio and video. More importantly, Web technology helps you develop
more individualized relationships with your customers by enabling
you to deliver information that is custom-tailored to each customer.
As a result, you can generate brand awareness that has increased
personal meaning to each customer.
- Increase customer satisfaction. Because of its extensive
reach and high level of interaction, a Web site can help you provide
better service, better information, better support, and develop
a closer relationship with your customers.
- Disseminate information. Through your Internet Web
site you can provide easy access to information about your products,
services and company. This helps you move customers more quickly
to the next step in the sales cycle.
- Receive feedback. Solicit feedback from Web site visitors.
Customers are more apt to respond because it's so easy and anonymous.
They simply enter the information requested on a questionnaire
or survey page and click a button to send it to you.
- Automate business processes. Automate a variety of
business processes by redeploying them to a Web site. Federal
Express, for example, permits customers to check the status of
their packages on a Web site. As a result, up-to-date information
is readily available to customers without the cost of additional
Understand the possibilities of Intranet
Intranet Web sites can plug in to your existing network infrastructure.
As a result, they leverage your network investment. Because they
operate over your existing network, Intranet Web sites are easier
to secure than those on the Internet.
Like Web sites on the Internet, Intranet Web sites present a number
of possibilities that can revolutionize the way you do business:
An Intranet Web site can
Automate business processes.
Redeploy client/server solutions
Facilitate a collaborative culture
Increase employee satisfaction.
- Automate business processes. Automate a variety of
internal business processes on your Web site for increased efficiency.
For example, many organizations are using Intranet Web sites to
automate the distribution and administration of internal documents,
including policies and procedures, benefit selections, financial
information, telephone lists and job postings. Electronic distribution
eliminates the high cost of updating and distributing paper documents
every time an update occurs.
- Redeploy client/server solutions. By redeploying client/server
solutions to Web sites, you provide universal access to information
without the need to install and manage specialized client software.
Users can access the information they need through their standard
Web browsers. Many organizations are already redeploying client/server
applications in human resources, accounting, sales management
and executive information services onto their Intranet Web sites.
These Web-based applications are considerably less expensive to
maintain and manage than traditional client/server solutions.
- Disseminate information. Through your Intranet Web
site you can disseminate internal information to employees and
even to business partners, such as suppliers and contractors.
You can use your Web site to present information in new and engaging
ways, so your employees will be more apt to access the information.
Your business partners will also appreciate being kept "in
- Facilitate a collaborative culture. Because important
information flows more freely through Intranet Web sites, it is
easier for your employees to become more engaged, involved and
interactive-within their own departments and workgroups as well
as with other departments and workgroups.
- Increase employee satisfaction. Use your Web site to
keep employees informed and solicit their feedback on matters
that are important to them. As a result, you'll build closer relationships
- Receive feedback. Because of its ease of interaction,
a Web site can help you obtain valuable feedback from your employees
and business partners. Use this information to improve service
and support to these people who are so important to your business.
Step 2: Plan your Web
After you have developed an understanding of the Internet and
Intranet, you are ready for the next step-planning your Web site.
This is, perhaps, the most important step because it establishes
the basis for your Web site business plan.
In the planning step, you determine the opportunities the Web
presents to your organization and then define your objectives
accordingly. It is important to develop your Web site business
plan within the context of your overall business plan. Be sure
to address two major issues:
Important issues to consider in planning:
- Plan your site within the context
of your overall business strategy.
- Define your goals.
- Identify opportunities to increase
- Identify opportunities to decrease
- Define your target audience.
- Establish and monitor objectives.
- How does the Web site support your existing business objectives?
- Does the Web present new opportunities that are not currently
available to you? These should be integrated into your overall
Look for opportunities to increase revenue and decrease costs.
In defining your objectives, it is important to determine your
target audience, and to build in the means to monitor your progress
in accomplishing your objectives.
Identify opportunities to increase
The Web presents a variety of ways to increase revenue:
- Enhance brand awareness. Because of its multimedia
capability, the web can help you increase brand awareness through
richer, more engaging brand identity.
- Enhance product awareness. Increase the awareness of
your product to a specific target audience.
- Boost lead generation. Take advantage of the interactive
nature of the web to capture leads.
- Speed lead response. Because you get leads immediately,
you can respond faster, while the customer is still "hot."
- Reach new customers. Because of its worldwide reach,
the Web helps you reach customers who may not be available through
- Add a new sales channel. Add online sales that are
incremental to those of your traditional off-line channels such
as retail and direct mail.
- Increase sales through existing channels. In addition
to providing a new sales channel, the Web can also boost sales
through your existing channels by increasing product and brand
- Improved customer service and support. The Web presents
opportunities to increase revenue indirectly through enhanced
customer service and support.
Identify opportunities to decrease costs
You can use both Internet and Intranet Web sites to reduce costs
and improve productivity in external and internal business processes:
- Reduce support costs. It is often cheaper, easier and
more effective to support customers over the Internet than through
more traditional methods such as telephone support. In addition,
corporations can support employees and business partners over
their corporate Intranets, keeping them informed and soliciting
- Reduce sales costs. Sales over the Internet typically
require less overhead and less sales support than traditional
sales channels. A Web site can reduce dependence on more expensive
sales channels, including retail.
- Reduce inventory costs. A Web site can help you reduce
inventory costs by shortening sales cycles. In addition, the Web
can help you reduce inventory costs by shortening supply cycles
from your vendors.
- Reduce materials costs. Save paper production, printing
and distribution costs by disseminating information electronically
over the Internet or Intranet. For example, you can publish annual
reports, distribute marketing materials and present customer support
tips on your Internet Web site. An Intranet Web site can lower
the cost of delivering internal manuals and forms.
Define your target audience and their motivations
The Web gives you the ability to reach audiences that are out
of the reach of other media. But reaching your audience is only
part of the task. It is essential that your Web site be carefully
tailored to your target audience. Just as with any other medium,
you need to know your audience to take full advantage of the Web.
Ask yourself the following questions about your target audience:
- Who are they. Are they consumers, business customers,
business partners, government organizations, or your own employees?
What are their demographics?
- What are their qualifications?. What is their level
of familiarity with computers? Are they "netheads?"
Are they technically oriented? Are they consumers?
- How will they access your Web site? Will they use network
or dial-up connections? What is their typical modem speed? What
kind of browsers will they use? These factors influence the content
of your site. For example, if your target audience typically uses
dial-up connections, you should not include graphics that will
require long download times.
Establish and monitor objectives
Once you have an understanding of how the Web fits your business,
you can establish your objectives. You should define these objectives
in the context of your overall business objectives. Only in this
way can you tap the synergy between the Web and other tools available
to you. In particular, you need to establish the role of your
Web site in your overall marketing mix.
You also need to set up methods and metrics to monitor and evaluate
your Web site-on a continuing basis. The site can provide feedback
in two ways: It can collect data automatically, such as the number
of visits to each page and the paths visitors take through the
site. You can also solicit feedback from visitors through questionnaires
and survey forms on your site.
The metrics you establish for monitoring should be objective and
measurable. Use them to evaluate the effectiveness of your site
in meeting the objectives you have established. Are you reaching
your intended audience? What incremental sales are attributable
to the site? What cost savings have you realized by automating
business processes on a Web site? Are you finding increased employee
satisfaction because of improved information flow through your
Intranet site? Is your overhead reduced because of lower printing
costs (external or internal) or lower sales costs?
Step 3: Deploy your Web
After you have completed the understanding and planning steps,
it's time to deploy your site. In deploying your site, take into
account the following factors:
- Design your site from a usability perspective and not merely
from an aesthetic perspective. Rather than just looking for
an award-winning, "cool" site, consider the site visitors.
Make the site easy to navigate. And don't scare visitors away
or frustrate them with a multitude of snazzy graphics that take
forever to load.
- Build in the means to monitor and continually evaluate
your Web site. Treat your site just as you would any other
- Take advantage of the highly interactive nature of the
Web. Solicit visitor information.
What you'll need
There are a staggering number of Web-related tools for creating
and posting Web sites, and new tools are appearing every day.
The cost of evaluating, purchasing, integrating, learning and
using these tools can be significant. And it often requires expertise
in new scripting languages such as HTML. In addition, if you want
to add pizzazz and include such capabilities as soliciting feedback,
you'll need expertise in other, more complex programming
languages such as Java, Shockwave and CGI Script.
Your site should be easy to navigate, so that visitors can quickly
move to the pages they need. (How many times have you left a Web
site in frustration because you couldn't easily navigate it?)
A well-designed site requires expertise in the unique interactive
aspects of the Web medium.
Fortunately, there are organizations that specialize in Web site
planning, design, construction, deployment, monitoring and maintenance.
These Web professionals can provide you with the expertise you
need to create and deploy an effective Web site.
Many organizations are already turning to Web professionals for
assistance. IDC and Network World jointly conduct an annual
survey called the Network World 500. In this survey, they
interview 500 organizations that are among the leading networking
users in the United States. These are companies with more than
1,000 employees, multiple sites with internetworked LANs and WANs
and annual networking expenditures of more than $5 million. The
1998 survey reveals that 33.1 percent of these companies are using
outside firms for installation and maintenance of their Web server
hardware and software, and 32.1 percent are using outside services
for their Web site content design and maintenance. Smaller companies,
with 100 to 1,000 employees, are outsourcing at an even greater
Integrate your objectives
Before actually building your site, you should determine how
your site can help you accomplish your business goals and objectives.
Take a holistic approach, that is, don't look at the Web site
in isolation but rather in the context of your overall business
plan. Understand how your cyberworld objectives relate to your
physical world objectives. Understand the role of each medium
within your marketing mix, and leverage the strengths of each.
Try to make it all work together. Support each marketing objective
across multiple media where possible. For example, cross-promote
among media. Strive for synergy and consistency. Even though the
individual messages may vary to leverage the unique strengths
of each medium, the overall flavor should be consistent across
Build your site
After you have integrated your objectives, it's time to build
your site. Using the three-phased approach outlined below will
help you get on the Web quickly without jeopardizing quality or
effectiveness. It will also provide a valuable learning environment,
enabling you to adjust your business model to get maximum leverage
from your Web site as you gain experience.
- First, repurpose existing materials to the Web site in
a compelling manner. This does not mean merely copying existing
paper documents to the Web server. It means adapting existing
materials for online use. Adding a table of contents that provides
hypertext links to document sections facilitates navigation considerably.
Adding links within and across documents further simplifies navigation.
Keep it simple and intuitive for the visitors coming to the site.
- Second, begin moving appropriate business processes to
Web sites. Consider both external and internal processes for
deployment on the Internet and Intranet. Increase the geographical
impact of your Web site. Take advantage of the Web's potential
to engage target audiences. You may even begin conducting basic
commerce operations over the Internet and Intranet during this
phase. Some processes may require that you integrate the Internet
with your Intranet. For example, it may not be practical to give
an offshore supplier a direct connection to your Intranet Web
site. You can however, allow that supplier to connect to your
Intranet Web site through the Internet. As you increase the number
of processes you deploy, the more your customers, vendors and
employees will view your Web site as a viable place to conduct
business. The result
you'll improve access and service
to your customers, suppliers and employees, and tighten your relationships
with them. And you'll increase revenues and reduce costs at the
- Third, grow and evolve your Web site. Create active
content that can be customized for each visitor. Evolve your site
into a full business entity--with its own goals, objectives and
strategies. Above all, keep your site dynamic. Your site will
become a strong adjunct to many of your organization's business
activities and will soon be considered as mission-critical by
the various groups with which you interact.
Step 4: Market your Web
Merely implementing a Web site, no matter how "cool,"
does not ensure that your intended audience will visit it. Even
when they do visit it, it does not ensure that they will return.
As a result of the large number of Web sites already on the Internet,
your site can get lost in the shuffle unless it is properly promoted
as an extension to your current marketing efforts or business
processes. Even with internal Intranets, promotion is essential
to ensure that your target audience is aware of them and uses
them to their fullest capability.
You need to engage in active marketing to draw an audience to
your site and keep them coming back. There are a variety of ways
to market and promote your Web site, many using the Web itself.
Leverage existing marketing resources
You can generate Web traffic by extending your traditional marketing
programs. This may be as simple as adding your Web site URL to
your existing marketing collateral, press releases, advertisements,
on-hold messages and product packaging. Once you've caught a customer's
eye through traditional marketing activities, let them know that
more extensive information is available on your Web site. That
helps you build qualified site visitors who are interested in
your content. Also include areas that tie in to your latest non-Web
marketing activities and promotions.
List with online information and directory
Several types of online resources help Net surfers find information
on topics of interest, including companies that provide the products
and services they are looking for. You should list your site with
as many appropriate resources as possible. Unfortunately, thousands
of resources are available, making comprehensive coverage difficult.
Online resources fall into four categories:
- Search engines. These sites utilize indexing software
agents, often called robots or spiders, that continually "crawl"
the Web. They visit virtually every site in search of new or updated
pages. When an agent visits a site, it records the full text of
every page and visits all external links. Agents revisit sites
periodically to refresh their databases.
- Directories. Unlike search engines, directories do
not employ indexing software agents. Instead they require you
to register your Web site with them. Directories are usually subdivided
into categories, so you need to submit your site under appropriate
headings. Listing your site in as many relevant directories as
possible helps to ensure that visitors find your site when they
- Announcement sites. The explosion of sites being added
to the Web has resulted in the establishment of announcement sites
that track all new Web sites. These sites announce different types
of new Internet documents-such as new Web pages, new articles
and new resources. Announcements are posted for only a short period
of time. When they remove a document from their "What's New"
section, however, most announcement sites archive it so users
can continue to access it.
- Award site and cool site guides. These guides are becoming
a popular source for finding interesting and useful Web sites.
Guides post and rate only a small percentage of the sites submitted
to them, and typically select only one new site per day. You should
ensure that the people who maintain award and cool site lists
are aware of your site. Make sure your site is "rate-worthy"
before submitting it for rating. Being selected as an award site
or cool site attracts high traffic-but only for a short time.
Advertise on other Web sites
Web advertising is maturing as a marketing strategy and is now
being brokered by existing and new agencies. Advertising on targeted
Web sites can help you build traffic for your Web site.
As with other media, message, location and timing are critical
components of a successful banner advertising campaign. Targeting
the right audience with the right message provides a greater return
than a high number of impressions to an untargeted audience.
Promote your Intranet Web site internally
Your Intranet Web site will be effective only if your employees
and business partners are aware of it and use it. That's why you
need to promote your Web site internally. There are a number of
methods you can use to promote your site, including:
- Feature the Web site in employee newsletters.
- Distribute flyers or posters promoting the site.
- Post site information on company bulletin boards.
- Encourage managers to talk up the site to their subordinates
and at company meetings.
- Conduct promotional programs such as internal contests based
on some aspect of Web site use.
- Conduct training sessions on using the site.
- Keep your business partners informed about your Web site.
Get help from outside sources
As in building a Web site, marketing and promoting a site requires
specialized expertise. Fortunately, there are a number of firms
available to help you promote and market your site. These firms
offer a variety of services, including:
- Web site submission to top search engines and directories.
- Search engine triggering analysis and query result improvement.
- Nomination to appropriate award, new announcement and review
- Arrangement of strategic links with related Web sites.
- Press release submission.
- Competitive research and evaluation.
- Interactive, banner type Web advertisements.
- Web advertisement placement strategy.
Some firms offer specialized services. For example, there are
Web site promotion firms that employ automated tools to register
Web sites electronically with search engines and directories.
These firms typically offer a free service to submit a site's
URL to the top general search engines and simple directories.
They also offer extended tools that register a site at a considerably
larger number of resources, and they can target specific topics
or geographic locations. Other firms offer Web site marketing
and consulting packages that include a combination of services.
Step 5: Analyze the results
It is important to monitor and evaluate your Web site continually
to ensure that it's meeting objectives. In the planning stage,
you determined what data you would gather and what metrics you
would employ to analyze that data. Based on the data and metrics,
you can analyze your Web site on a variety of dimensions depending
on your needs.
There are two primary purposes for analysis. One is to evaluate
the effectiveness of your site and compare it to your traditional
marketing programs and business processes. The second purpose
is to provide information to help you continually evolve and tune
your site. Remember to evaluate Web results in the overall context
of your business strategies to determine if the results meet your
In analyzing your site, look at the data you gather online, including:
- Number of site visits and specific page visits per day.
How large an audience are you reaching? Which pages are most
popular? Which pages are least popular?
- Visitor paths through the site. How do users typically
travel through your site? Which paths are most often taken?
- Solicited online feedback. Look at information gathered
from solicited online responses, such as questionnaires, that
are posted on your Web site. This valuable information can help
you optimize your site to the needs of your customers.
- Visits derived from ad banners. Analyze how well banners
are working. Determine which banners are producing the most visits,
and which are producing the most qualified visitors.
Also, look at other data, such as:
- Solicited offline feedback: Analyze feedback from sources
other than your Web site. For example, look at customers' responses
to questions asked by offline sales personnel, such as "Where
did you hear about our product or company?"
- Testimonial and anecdotal information. Take advantage
of unsolicited information as well as solicited information.
- Incremental revenue. Look for added revenue that is
directly or indirectly attributable to your Web site.
- Cost savings. Look for cost savings that are directly
or indirectly attributable to your Web site.
Use the information you gather to compare the results of your
Web site programs to those of your non-Web programs. You also
need to compare the quality of the results for each of these types
Step 6: Refine and Maintain
your Web site
The Web is the most dynamic medium available today. As a result,
it's important to establish a philosophy of changing and evolving
your site continually to keep it fresh, at maximum effectiveness
and in tune with your overall business strategies.
You should establish a process that enables you to refine and
update your Web site on a continuing basis. The process should
include the following components:
- Leverage interaction to improve your site. You will
continue to get feedback on your site. Use this feedback to help
you modify your site. Establish an iterative process to keep your
Web site optimized. Take advantage of the dynamic and interactive
nature of the Web to provide a learning experience for your organization.
Experiment and monitor the results. Make changes and watch their
effect. An iterative process enables you to involve visitors in
bringing your site up to its optimum potential and keeping it
- Review site marketing strategies. Evaluate results
in the context of your marketing strategies and determine if the
results are on- or off-track. Do this for both Web site and non-Web
- Review business strategies. Reconcile your Web site
strategy in the context of your overall business strategy. If
you find the site is not meeting certain business objectives,
re-evaluate your Web business plan in light of these shortcomings.
Establish a process for continually refining your Web site objectives
in light of new information. The process should also include updating
the role your Web site plays in your overall business plan.
- Stay in tune with technology. As technology advances,
you need to evolve your Web site when appropriate in the context
of your objectives.
A Web site can revolutionize the way you do business. It can help
you increase revenues, decrease costs and build tighter relationships
with customers, employees and business partners. As you gain experience
with your Web site, you can continue to integrate it with your
business, taking advantage of its unparalleled reach and high
level of interaction to increase your competitive edge.
Establishing and maintaining a Web site can represent a significant
investment. To realize maximum return on that investment, you'll
need to plan your site carefully, design it to take full advantage
of the Web's unique capabilities, market it effectively and refine
it continually. This requires expertise in a variety of areas,
many of which are new to your organization.
Fortunately, there are a number of firms specializing in helping
organizations like yours to plan, create, deploy, market and evolve
Web sites. With the help of these firms, you can get on the Web
not only quickly, but also effectively. You'll realize immediate
benefits, and gain strategic advantage. By establishing a Web
site now, you'll position your organization to tap the rapidly
expanding potential of one of the most exciting mediums to appear
on the business scene.