9.2.4 Presentation on the internet & Web content layout

Once you have selected the content and services of your website it should meet with the needs of the audience. You should consider the type of website according to the following points:

  • A website for the general public and many first time visitors may require additional navigation tools, introductory information and heavier use of graphics to captivate users' attention and draw them into the site.
  • A website designed for clients focus more on appearance and presentation effects, as they are symbolic representations of the business.
  • A website developed for employees (Intranet) is fundamentally a business tool and typically favours site functionality over page appearance.
  • Sites designed for business partners consider functionality and page appearance as equally important.1

Analyses of possible competitors
When planning your website you should take into account your competitors websites and other sites in the same industry. Below are some examples of web sites considered good and less good, however the reader is encouraged to sample the websites listed and judge for themselves.

GOOD

NOT SO GOOD

www.alfaromeo.com

The well know car producer is a very good example of how to be fast and interactive on the web. The design is impressive the content is rich.

www.weatheronline.co.uk

International website on the weather. The site is very useful, however it is quite difficult to find the sense of the site. The main idea is hidden in sub-sites.

www.euventures-eu.com

Good example for creating website with emotions. Very clean site, leaves you with a feeling of trust. You can get a lot of information about the company in a well structure page.

www4.interflora.co.uk/

Badly formed website. Small text and too much information is presented on this site.

www.criticalmass.com

A highly successful interaction design firm presented a very impressive site. A good example for how to use the web as a marketing tool.

www.angelfire.com/super/badwebs/

In this site you can find a lot of ideas on what to avoid when you plan your site.

www.hoedlmayr.com/hun/EN/169.html

A solid website from a Hungarian Logistics Ltd. The page and the sub-sites provide enough information about the company. Full of good ideas – map, status, quality systems approved by the company.

www.rnib.org.uk

There is more and more need for this kind of websites, but the problem is how to really reach the target audience the opening page should be more attractive with better use of content and colour

Table 2: Examples for good and not so good websites

Now it’s your turn! Go on a famous search website, eg. www.google.com or www.yahoo.com and try to search your competitors’ websites according to the key words of your industry or area of operation.

How to develop your website to support marketing aims
After the goals and parameters of the site have been determined, it remains to be decided how the site will be built. Specifically, will it be developed internally or will the project be out-sourced? Internal skills need to be evaluated or proposals can be invited from web development firms.
Please have a look at table 3: How marketing can support your innovation

A wide range of website development options exist today, ranging from the creation of custom, database driven website to purchasing low-cost software and creating a simple site internally or accessing online tools that enable non-technical staff to add and manage content using a content management system (CMS).
A CMS can be very useful for sites that require frequent updates. It may also be a practical solution if several non-technical people will be contributing to the site's content upkeep. Some CMS features include multi-user administration, workflow approval, or a "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) text editor for non-technical contributors.
If you choose a direct marketing orientated web developer, follow the rules below:

  • Use web marketing strategies to attract visitors to your site such as reciprocal links, direct e-mail, newsgroup and list serve postings etc
  • Combine online marketing with conventional promotion such as direct mail, advertising and include your web site address on all business correspondence
  • Include an online form for your prospect to respond to your offer, either to place an order or request more information
  • Build up a database from enquiries. Offer a free report on your products or services that can be easily downloaded to build up a database of qualified prospects
  • Email your database regularly to keep them informed of new developments and offers. Alternatively produce an online newsletter for the same purpose

Please have a look at Fig. 1: How can you assess agencies’ ability?2

Your competitor is on the Internet already!
Give your name card on the Internet
Provide special offers to your customer

Please CLICK here for see an example of services on the webpage of IBM. 

  • Provide „time-sensitive” information on your website
  • Provide pictures, audios and films if it is necessary

Please CLICK here for see an example of webpage with audios and films.

  • A picture can say a thousand words – people like to see, and hear before they buy something
  • Use Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) as a kind of service 

Please CLICK here for see an example of Frequently Asked Questions.

The Internet is a 24 hour service for your customers

Web content layout

Websites are judged by content and layout. Regardless of how good your content may be, if your layout is not appealing, visitors will not be eager to come back. When the analysis phase of your website is complete you should plan your project. The following four steps should be taken during this stage:
Please have a look at table 4: The steps of website development process.3

Everyone is not born with a quality of creating layouts that are pleasing to the eye. If you have been to different websites such as Yahoo, Skype, MSN groups, you might have found various colour combinations that the group owner has chosen. Some of them have red backgrounds with blue coloured text creating a blinding effect. Although Yahoo provides all the possible colour combinations, some choose the wrong colour. Colours and layout can be chosen individually in these groups.

Assemble your project team
For a small company a single person may be responsible for the development of the website, for a larger company a team should be organised. Determine whom to invite to participate by ensuring that they have valuable skills to contribute, have management support and will be authorized to make decisions on their own. Many decisions and approvals will need to be made during the next stages. A web development firm or consultant can assist with this process if internal time or resources are not available.

Decide whether to build or buy
One of the first decisions the project team will need to make is whether the site will be built internally or whether a web development firm will be hired. The decision will be based on the available resources and on the complexity of the project. If the decision is made to outsource the project, the team can begin to itemise the specific requirements of the site for the purpose of putting together a request for proposal (RFP). The RFP should detail the target audience groups, the functionality required, specific performance goals, development platform or programming language requirements, any future or planned functionality and project timeframes.

A budget can optionally be included. A budget is useful to the responding companies to give them a guideline and help them maximise their deliverables and provide recommendations on how to proceed in order to meet your requirements

IMPORTANT! Websites are long-term investments in terms of both time and money. A strong partner compliments available internal resources and provides a proactive vision for the future of the website.


Establish publishing policies
It may seem early in the process, but this is the time when the project team needs to consider the ongoing content maintenance of the website and establish content publishing policies and processes so as to maintain high quality standards as the site grows. Some of the points to consider include:

  • What content will require regular review to ensure that it is current and who will be responsible for conducting this process?
  • Who will evaluate the user interface, site usability and future changes to it?
  • What documents will be published on the site and who is responsible for converting, validating and managing the publishing process?

Schedule your resources and time
A web development company will provide a project timeline and schedule; alternatively it is wise to create a schedule for internally tracking the project’s progress. Establish milestones and set deadlines for when it is to be completed. For a busy company, managing a web site build is generally an additional project on top of a heavy workload and can easily become the lowest priority, delaying the project indefinitely. A simpler website can be completed in three to four weeks. A complex e-commerce site with various internal processes may take six to eight months or more.

Once the website development process starts the next stage involves the actual building of the website or a website system. Sub steps in this part of the process involve managing the following:

  • Information structure
  • Interface design
  • Content creation
  • Technical build


1 InnoSupport: Supporting Innovations in SME. 9.3  Competencies of Internet presentation and research, 2005
2 ebd

3 Website Layout - Tips & Tricks http://content.websitegear.com/article/layout.htm