A key element in designing a web site is creating a mission for the site. What benefits do you expect or desire from your site? Simply having a site because others in your market do is not sufficient. While Web Refinements can provide guidance, consider the following when preparing to design or redesign a site :
Define your web audience, keeping their needs in mind. It won't matter that you like your website if your audience does not.
Develop a clear, benefits-based message for the site. Present benefits immediately rather than your history or philosophy. Each visitor wants to know "what's in it for me?"
For companies selling products or services, list your market niches or your greatest sales strengths.
Is your website intended to focus on a local, regional, national, or international market?
Inventory your content. Having literature, photos, logos, and other graphics in common electronic formats can facilitate web content creation and reduce costs.
Know what you want before starting the site design or redesign. Make a list of content topics, features, and design elements you like (or don't like) or think you might want. At this point, don't worry about cost or whether or not the features will help you realize your site goals. You can discuss the pros and cons of the wish list when interviewing web developers. Write down a wish list of all web features
Understand how people use the web. People read web pages quite differently from printed matter. Content is king, and a specific writing style can make the difference between a successful site and a disappointment. Web Refinements provides all clients with a writing guide, and can also assist in this process.
Coordinate your web site with existing or planned marketing and communication technologies. Look at a website for multiple purposes, such as using it as a remote presentation tool, online training and tests, or the basis of a CD-ROM catalog. If you offer a newsletter or have a regular mail list, you may want to offer these through your web site.
Do you have a plan to promote your web site, or will you need assistance with that aspect?
Evaluate the administrative implications of a web site. Sites are most effective when you update content, especially if you want repeat traffic. Web Refinements can, of course, handle this for you, or explain options to enable you to do this in-house.
Remain focused on your purpose for the site. It's very easy to get sidetracked by the exciting possibilities of technology or the "really cool" bells and whistles that are possible. But unless those truly support your primary goal, they may only increase costs while diminishing the effectiveness of your site. Web Refinements can assist with any of these activities to the extent you desire. If you wish us to handle updates, prepare (or in some cases, even write) newsletters, or provide regular reports on site activity, we are happy to do so. If you have someone in your organization with modest computer skills, we can set up a content management system and train you to do your own web site updates. The extent of user-level updating can be adjusted to the comfort of the person doing the updates, limiting it to text changes on a few individual pages, or allowing extensive changes to pages, graphics, links and more.
Web Refinements will be happy to discuss these issues or answer any questions regarding effective website development.
Send us an email and we will be glad to show you what we can do for your business.