Ten Tenets of Managing Your Web Site

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1. Keep the content fresh. Always, always, always provide something that brings people back to your website. This can be a contest, a newsletter, new product/service announcements, event publication, etc. Once you establish a reason for people to continually re-visit your website, you have created a marketing engine that will continue to produce new customers.

2. Remember that people use the Web for information. Don't get caught up in the latest and greatest Web-based technology if it detracts from your website's capability to communicate information. Take, for example, Flash, which is a type of Web animation software. It does cool stuff, but it can make a site clunky and slow for a lot of visitors.

3. Consistency. You want people to visit your website again and again. Make sure that the pages are presented in a consistent fashion so your repeat visitors feel comfortable navigating your web site.

4. Aim for shallow navigation. Your visitors should not be more than three clicks away from the information they are searching for. No one likes to dig to find what they are looking for.

5. Register your domain name and use it. Many people fall into the trap of using a cheap or free hosting service that does not utilize a good domain name. For instance, an address for a website on a cheap service might be: http://www.niftywebprovider.com/sites/colorado/~yourcompanyname.com. By registering your organization's domain name you not only protect it from use by other people but you make your website address much easier to remember, i.e. http://www.yourcompany.com. The typical cost for registering your own domain name is about $35 per year.

6. Advertise your website conventionally. Every place you would normally print your name, phone number or fax number, also publish your website and e-mail address. This helps your current and future customers utilize the resource you have provided.

7. Use a professional, at least a bit. If you are not familiar with the World Wide Web or if you don't consider yourself an artistic person, consult with someone. Although you may not be designing the next high-profile website, good use of color and layout is paramount for making your website comfortable for your visitors. But again, don't let a designer talk you into a lot of bells, whistles, graphics and high-resolution photos.

8. Give visitors a reason to visit your site. More than just fresh content, website visitors are compelled to visit sites that give them a reason to visit. This can be as simple as offering something special only to website visitors.

9. Understand search engines. Visitors that do not come to your website from a reference you generate most likely find you using a search engine. The Web is made up of hundreds of search facilities, most of which operate differently. The differences in operation require that you understand how they search in order for you to make the best use of them. Also, there are website search engine registration companies that will get your site indexed in the fashion that best meets your needs. Different search engines work in different ways. The best thing to do is to include key identifying words about what you do directly in the homepage of your website. This covers the websites that do indexing on their own. For other search engines, such as Yahoo.Com, you follow their on-line instructions for submitting your website. Many times, this is a service that the ISP hosting the website can take care of for you as there are quite a few ins and outs to getting search engines to work the way you want them to work.

10. Make the website work for you. If your website cannot justify its existence financially, then you need to either junk it or improve its interaction with your office. It is very possible to automate the handling of the information coming off the Web. Some companies have tested their designs to the point where a customer can make an order and the required requests arrive a few minutes later at the appropriate place. This kind of automation saves you time and makes you money by leveraging your investment in the Internet.

Bryan BuchkoComment