Bigger budget sites
Is it work spending seriously on your company website?
If you find yourself in the enviable position of having a large budget to develop your website, what should you spend it on? Should you even be thinking about spending that sort of money, or would you be better off using just a fraction of it on your site and investing the rest in other areas of your organisation?
�Any website is only as good as the number of sales it makes.�
The important thing to remember is that any investment in your site is worthless if it does not translate into increased sales. As Kane Western of www.2-home-business.com says: "It's very easy to get caught up in web development. You don't need to spend thousands of pounds building a website to make profits on the internet. Any website is only as good as the number of sales it makes."
The good news is that many online tools, from marketing through search engines through to content management systems and credit card payment tools can be bought at low cost first, and then beefed up if they prove to be worthwhile. Unlike, say, TV advertising, you can buy small before you buy big.
Exactly what you spend your money on depends on what sort of site you operate, and, even more usefully, on what your customers say they want. If you have a brochure site which is encouraging lots of customer calls, then perhaps it's time to upgrade to e-commerce and shopping carts. You might also spend some budget on search engine optimisation and find more customers. If you are running a publication supported by advertising, on the other hand, you might invest in ad delivery and tracking tools or an editorial content management system.
In all cases, your technology spend must do at least one of these things:
Richard Parker of Incorpex Ltd, a provider of online learning solutions for schools, plans a 'suggestion tracking' system to look after his existing customers: "It would allow our project managers to look at all suggestions from all customers and determine which ones are recurring. This will be a driver for the future development of our software."
�Don't be taken in by 'eye candy' – think about what you are trying to achieve.�
Just because you have the money for a custom solution to your needs, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you should spend it on one. Look for existing packages which can be tailored to suit your requirements, especially for things like e-commerce systems which can be expensive to create from scratch. Unfortunately, the best ones tend to be aimed at US businesses.
Kane Western again: "UK merchants are held back by the lack of real systems and tools available that are up to speed with current internet marketing models. Hence many of the great successes are US-based, while UK guys have to make do, or build expensive custom solutions." So look worldwide for the ideal solution - some of the best community tools, for example, have been built in Israel, India and Vietnam.
Ultimately, if you have a significant amount of money to invest in your website, you'll find plenty of companies willing to help you spend it. Don't be taken in by 'eye candy' – think about what you are trying to achieve. As Kane says, "Focus on what’s important. For me that is sales; customers are the lifeblood of any business and without them you have nothing.”