|Setting Goals: Know what you want to accomplish on the Web.
Don't spend time and money building a Website just because you think you have to have one. That kind of thinking can result in the creation of "anotherwasteoftime.com".
A Web site can:
Help speed and improve customer service
Provide instant, global, consistent communications to your employees
Cut your printing and mailing costs for marketing materials
Find new customers and sell them products, 24 hours-a-day
Streamline the fulfillment process
Collect valuable customer demographic data
Conduct market research
Reach new markets, and the list goes on.
The first thing you need to do is decide what it is you want your web site to do... that is... set a goal.
Part of the goal setting process starts with you asking yourself, "What exactly is it you want to accomplish online?" Examining how your company works now and how it will work in the future will not only be an educational process, but it will provide the information you need to begin to develop specifications for the your web site and see what will be required to integrate it with your other systems. The more integrated your web site becomes the better its performance.
Taking the time to ask questions first will not only save you development time and money, it will help you budget realistically for development, updating and marketing your site. It will also give you a way to measure your site's performance. You need to know where you're going in order to know when you've arrived.
Here are just a few of the dozens of questions you should be asking:
1. Who in your company will be responsible for the site?
2. Who will be visiting the site and how will they be using it?
3. What type(s) of information will be on the site?
4. What types of features and functionality?
5. How often will the site be updated?
6. Will the site be linked to your internal legacy systems?
7. Are the security issues?
8. Where will the server be hosted?
9. On what type of server?
10. Who will be updating the site?
11. Who will be providing and approving content?
12. Do you want to sell products on the site?
13. Will you need to clear credit cards?
14. Will you add staff or outsource maintenance?
Obviously there is a lot more, especially if you intend to fully integrate your web site into the rest of your business. If you find you need help to find the answers, we can help you with the process.
STEP 2: Architecture