Everyone wants a new, more powerful website.
Many times, that's as far as the conversation goes because building a new site can be a frightening endeavor for those who aren't technologically-savvy.
Recently, I received a phone call from the founder of small, Atlanta-based marketing company that underwrites large sports contests such as those you see at halftime of basketball games, where some lucky fan has the chance to hit a half-court shot and win a quarter-million dollars. This particular business relies on direct sales. In other words, its sales force picks up the phone and cold calls clients all day long.
This gentleman called me because he knew that he could be getting more from his business if he could more easily reach potential clients. Better yet, he said, he'd like to create a way where potential clients could reach out to his company. That would make those first phone conversations more fruitful.
The problem, as he related it to me, is that he doesn't know where to begin. He doesn't completely understand what that Web presence would look like and he's not entirely sure who to believe as he discusses his plans with various vendors. Consequently, he hasn't made a decision because he doesn't want to choose poorly. His company is small. He can't afford an expensive mistake.
I've heard this same refrain from small business owners and operators. Fortunately, there are some simple rules to think about as you put together your site.
It's true that not every website will need these rules; in fact, the less interactive your site is, the fewer rules you'll need. There is no set form for how these should go together, but as you are planning your site, you should make sure that each of these areas is addressed.
The four "must haves":
For those who are leaning more towards an interactive experience for users, you can't simply throw up a site and turn control over to the masses. There needs to be control mechanisms.
The "four rules":