A website is a very important business asset. In some cases, it might be the most important business asset and in others, the only asset a business has. For example, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube only exists as websites (web systems). These businesses do not necessarily need a big building with a thousand workers and a big manufacturing machine. They only require a powerful server and a few employees and the internet which is almost free. Their websites are more important than everything else.
Choosing a website and a web developer is very critical and may determine whether your website will become an asset or a liability to the business. A website may make your small business appear like a multinational business. On the other hand it can humiliate your big business and make it appear less than it actually is.
Websites may be categorized into many categories. But they basically fall into either business, institutional, product, celebrity, news or social websites. I will give you exclusive explanation on what you need to know before you acquire a Business, institutional or social website.
Business websites are very useful and makes up a significant part of the internet.
Depending on the kind of business, it should be clear, attractive, have rich content and have an easy navigation system. If a visitor lucks what they were looking for in your website, they may go away for good. Even if you have contact details to answer more questions, not many clients want to call. They want to see all the relevant information about you online mostly those browsing through many similar websites.
For a brick and motor business e.g. a store front containing the products and their prices; but requiring the user to go and buy the product physically, the website should have: a header and a footer, images of the products/services which are clearly organized with price tags, related products and all the relevant information. It is good practice to organize them in broad categories and narrower categories. An auto-suggest search engine would make easier for visitors, clear contact information, location, a client order form would be great and online after sale services. Whatever business you are trying to acquire a website for, assume you are the visitor and spell out exactly what you would expect to see.
Purely click business websites demand for even more. Such websites do not require any physical contacts between the buyers and sellers. An example would be a software, games or eBook web site where users can download products and make payment online without making any physical contact with the seller. Such a website should be clear, powerful (code that doesn’t crash) and conclusive. This is because it is not only a website but also a business. It should be very organized since it holds very much content. The website should also provide easy and quick after sale services and real time customer interaction.
Institutional web sites are not very different from business web sites; only that they attract a greater range of visitors. When planning to acquire such as website, have in mind the clients, staff, distributors and perhaps the government. Such websites should have vital information e.g. about the institution, contacts of perhaps all the relevant staff members, mission and vision statements and a photo slide show of staff members, events or promises. A video would do well too. Location and maybe on Google map makes it easier for clients to find and visit you.
The last category is a social website. These types of website are too important to even think about their prices. The quality should be the most important consideration. A social websites attracts virtually all kinds of visitors and mostly gets more responses than the owner plans for. Facebook for example was created to serve an institution, but now it serves the globe with about a billion followers. Out of these these are several hundred thousand institution, celebrity or product pages and several thousand hackers. When creating a social site and if you believe it is unique, consider all those users. Be clear with what you want to the developer. If its video sharing, let it be video sharing and nothing else. Social websites should not talk much about themselves or about their owners. The users don’t care how it works or who developed it or how they can contact you. They are more worried about the stuff they are sharing and their profiles. Such websites are database driven and one would never tell how large they can become. What you assume is that it will have several million users. The header and footer may have rich colors like blue, red, brown and the body a white background. I bet most of those social websites outside there have that. The text should be black in color, the font type Times new roman, Arial or Tahoma or any other professional not fancy font. The headings should be bold, larger and/or underlined and the contents should be separated by horizontal rule. Make links blue and visited links purple… simple. You do not have to decorate, the website, the content being shared will decorate it for you. This is very important. A social website should have an autosuggest search engine and if necessary paged content. Don’t let them span too long. They should be addictive and free of errors. Most of the users nowadays use search engines like Google and have Facebook and twitter accounts, they also have email accounts like yahoo and Gmail. All these sites are very user friendly. That same user when visiting your social site compares it with those. Make thorough error provision features. A majority of those who will use your site have minimal or no computer skills. Finally it’s good practice to make sure your social site opens well in all platforms and browsers. A social website should open in a cellphone comfortably and fast.
As I conclude, a website is not something you just fix together to get it online. It is just like a magazine that you arrange the contents carefully and choose styles skillfully. Think and plan carefully before building one and select a good web designer. It would better take longer or cost you more but finally become your long term asset.