Pretty Websites

Pretty Websites – Is that Enough?

You see it time and again as businesses write about their new corporate website … they are so pleased with how it looks and as a consequence pleased about the money they spent. They see value because they have in some cases created an excellent first impression and of course that is good. The problem that arises is that a pretty website is just the beginning … well in fact it wasn’t the beginning but actually a few steps down the process of creating an effective website that “works”.

So what are the steps to an effective website? First we need to define your brand. Who are you and what does your company represent. What sets you apart from the rest of the pack? From those interviews we can get a feel for your company and begin to develop the message.

We need to determine the target market, as there is little sense building a corporate  executive site for a client whose target market is teens … no matter how pretty we make it look.

Site architecture … what makes sense for your visitors and where do we want them to go after they visit a particular page? Is a static website best suited for your company (where the design firm maintains artistic control over the content) or is a CMS system such as Drupal the best alternative for your business?

About here we are beginning to have a good idea as to what the site web design should be … we know the target market, we know the brand concept and we know about how many pages and sections we are going to require and so can build the navigation scheme.

Then we need to research key words and key phrases and see how those can be worked into your web copy and carry on with the interviewing of key personnel. Our copywriters then take the notes from the interview process and combine that with the key phrases and begin to write copy for the web pages … again paying attention to the target market and the various calls to action.

The designers then create the look and build in the navigation for each page and section of the website, and then begins the SEO work from the back-end. This process makes it so your website can be found by the search engines … for words and phrases that actually matter to your visitors.

It takes all of these components and more to create an effective website that works for your visitors, your sales team, your support team and anyone else that has a  vested interest in your website. We didn’t even talk about online stores or integration of software or developing hooks into your database or reservation systems … the list goes on.

Lastly when the site is done we need to look at updates, Social Media interaction and ongoing copy and of course analysis of the web pages. Are your visitors going ot the pages we wanted them to end. Does this page “A” work better than this new page “B” and why.

All of this is why when you build a website you need more than a web designer … they are a part of the web development process. It takes a team effort to make a website that “works”.

Ian Conklin
OTR Web Solutions Inc