There are many elements that lead to a successful
website. The technical elements are usually dealt with, but it is the user's experience at
your site that is often forgotten.
A Website consists of several elements, which must work together. Each one of these
elements is a separate make/buy decision.
A series of communications is involved to view a
|If the web server is up and running and the webpage is located in the expected place,
the webpage is downloaded into the PC, and then the connection to the web server is
dropped. The webpages you see (including this one) exist in your computer. Unfortunately
many webmasters seem to frequently rename files and directories in their website. While
they may be careful to make sure that their links are all updated, this means nothing for
all the external links and bookmarks which may be pointed towards the original file
location. How many times have you seen "Document not Found"? Lesson to be
learned - Avoid renaming your directories and files at all cost. Whenever you
create online content, take the time to think about your naming conventions for the
next 20 years of your website.
The care and feeding of your website is a hidden challenge that many organizations do
not anticipate. I have seen web site "project plans" which have a final
milestone called "Website Launch". Website launch is much like giving birth; You
have made it through the pregnancy, but now you have a living entity that must be taken
care of for the next 20+ years. Some things to consider:
- Who creates (and HTMLs) the information?
- Define how information will be fed to the site
- Who "approves" the information for publication on this world wide medium?
- The site should have a user-friendly look and feel A style guide should
govern the sites web pages easy navigation, few layers, no frames, less graphics,
page titles, etc
- Test your site using a 14.4 modem and VGA Screen (Even T-1 customers may have
trouble accessing your site)
- What is the purpose of your site?
- Enable Users to quickly reach your content
- Show off the fact that you can afford a Java/Graphics/Multi-media guru who shows the
site to the CEO on a 21 monitor with millions of colors)
- Your design should also cater to the needs of search engines - placement of key words,
Meta-tags, no frames, robot.txt file.
Generating Traffic to your site:
- Add interesting content to attract users
- Design web page to be search-engine friendly (See searchenginewatch.com)
- Announce your site to appropriate subject trees (Yahoo)
- Use advanced Altavista features to see where your competitors are listed, ask other
webmasters to link to you. (search term = link:.domainname.com )
- Pay for online Ad Banners - These can be quite targeted For example look at these
Altavista Ad Banners
- (Search term ---> Ad Banner)
- Insurance ---> Insurance Shopper (netquote.com)
- Insurance Agent ---> USF&G Small Business Insurance Policy
- State Farm ---> State farm Auto Parts Litigation (Class Action Lawsuit
- All employees should have an email signature containing:
http://yourcompany.com Spell out the full URL and leave spaces around it. (How many emails
leave your company every day?)
- Keep your pages simple and User friendly (Avoid framed, Java-enhanced, Graphics heavy,
- Allow users to register for email announcements
- Study your web site access statistics to determine how users are interacting with your
- And most importantly...
- The URL shall always appear whenever the companys name or phone
number is mentioned (business card, letterhead, forms, contracts, advertising (print,
Radio, TV), brochures, calendars, coffee mugs, etc.)
Web Development Resources:
Newsgroups (Note: Do not post messages into any of these newsgroups unless
you have been trained/authorized to do so) : These links will only work if you have access
to a usenet newserver, in the mean time you can Make Use of Dejanews, especially the Computer-related Newsgroups
Web Statistics - Every Webserver has detailed access statistics as to who has been
visiting each and every page within your site. You should work towards having easy,
clickable access to this information for each of your pages. For example, look at this
annotated view of the access statistics for my
own web site . If your Intranet websites are "thin", why not publish
Intranet usage statistics to se whose pages are the most popular. This might motivate your
content suppliers to add to their site.
- Use your web site statistics - They can be very valuable (who has looked at each
individual page) Total hits for a site is MEANINGLESS Downloading this page
may cause 4 hits (page.html, logo.gif, menubar.gif, bullet.gif)
- Track what sites are referring users to you pages.
- Watch for statistical bumps associated with external advertising events.
- Track how users navigate through your site. Which pages are popular? Watch for attrition
through many page layers Recognize the importance of positioning a link on the web page -
Many users never see past the top 5 inches of a web page.
Places to get web statistics software: