Running a Successful Web Site
Your business has a web site. Is it generating results? Over the years
Alliance Software has worked with customers on hundreds of sites. Here
are the common ingredients we've seen in those sites that have been top
1. Run it yourself
Companies that internally manage their own sites have more successful
web sites than those who delegate this responsibility to an external
resource. There seem to be three reasons for this: 1) expense, 2)
response time, and 3) distance.
Companies that outsource their web management tend to view every change
as an unbudgeted expense, because they have to pay an hourly rate for
every change they make to their site. This makes updating their site a
task to be minimized and carefully controlled. Changes are "saved up" so
that they can be sent to the web master in batches. This helps reduce
the expense, but also makes it take longer for changes to be
implemented. In the end, the company is distanced from its web site, and
from its customers who prefer to use the web to communicate.
On the other hand, companies that manage their own sites seem to view
web site changes as just another way of communicating with their
clients. They update their site quickly whenever they decide that is the
best way to get the job done. Customers learn to trust the site to be
up-to-date, and use it to communicate and provide feedback. This allows
the company to get closer to its customers through the web site.
Your site will be better if you run it yourself. You can do it without
having to develop technical expertise in-house. Alliance Software has
spent years building tools that make it easy for non-techies to manage
web sites. The collection of tools is called VitaSite™, and you can find
more information here.
2. Keep it fresh
Sites that are dynamic, with content that is updated frequently, do much
better than "brochure sites," where the content is updated infrequently.
This one is not a huge revelation. It has been one of the core
principles for running an effective web site for years. However, knowing
it and doing it are two separate things. One of the keys to actually
doing it is the first ingredient listed above: Run it Yourself.
You will keep your site up-to-date if you view it in the same way you
view your telephone and email: as a way of communicating with your
customers right now. The only way that happens is if you know you can
update your site as easily as you can send an email or dial the phone.
Alliance Software can make it that easy (see
3. Use it for two-way and group communication
Companies that use their sites to facilitate two-way and group
communication have more successful web sites than companies who use
their sites as online brochures.
If you keep your site up-to-date with the latest information your
customers care about, that's great-- but it is even better if you use
your site to let your customers communicate with you. Five web
technologies -- email response forms, web-based surveys, discussion
forums (sometimes called message boards or bulletin boards), email
newsletters, and live chat -- can be used to supercharge your website to
bring you closer to your customers.
Alliance Software has extensive experience with all of these
technologies, and four of them are available in our web content
management system, VitaSite™.
4. Keep score
Companies that track the way their site is used have more successful web
sites than companies that do not.
Web analytics packages allow you to track key metrics on how your site
is being used. Based on these stats, you can determine which parts of
your site are working well, and which parts need fine-tuning. Web
analytics allow you to keep track of the number of people visiting your
site, the number of pages viewed, how people were referred to your site,
the keywords used at search engines to find your site, and many other
Alliance Software includes a web analytics package in our premium
If you have a question regarding your site, or if you would like more
information on our web design and content management services, please