D+AS MAGAZINE

FEATURES — 10 Web Site Mistakes

© 2000 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2000
Author: Edward M. Stevens
Page 32

10 Web Site Mistakes

Edward M. Stevens, APR
President, Stevens Baron Communications, Inc.

Avoid these pitfalls, and your Web site will be all you want it to be.

  1. Not establishing the purpose of the Web site. Is it image, company or product branding, selling, educating the public, etc.? What do you want to accomplish with this site, and what do you want site users to be able to accomplish? Write down the purpose, and don't lose sight of it.
  2. Ignoring your audience. What information is your audience looking for? How much time will they spend looking for it? A common Web site design goal is to have all important information no more than three clicks away.
  3. Not treating a Web site project like any other business project. Plan it, budget for it, assign resources, schedule significant milestones, etc. Hire outside consultants for their expertise, but keep core competencies in-house.
  4. Not optimizing for fast loading of pages. The Internet is slow and is going to get slower before it gets faster. It’s only as fast as the slowest part of the cyberspace chain, usually the connection at the user’s end.
  5. Not creating a Web site mock-up. You must bring ideas together with a design or layout, plan a hierarchy of pages, and do some mock-ups. See how things flow and look together. Revise them. Look at them again.
  6. Not testing the Web site. Use focus groups, get feedback from users, and revise the mock-ups. Always let the user know where they are on the site. When done, test different versions of different browsers (i.e., Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator) and platforms (e.g., PCs and Macs).
  7. Ignoring the competition. What is everyone else doing? What is successful? How can you differentiate your site?
  8. Not determining that goals are being met. Is the information getting out there? Are you selling more? Are you getting recognized? Are you analyzing site traffic?
  9. Not planning for upgrades. Budget for content management. Sites get stale fast. How often will you add material and how will users find it?
  10. Not promoting your site. Publish your web address in ads, on business cards, in brochures, etc. Test it with search engines. Add links with trade organizations important to you.

A Web site is an important communications and marketing tool. Plan it carefully, and it will serve you well.