Website Redo - Why and How?
First in a series on redoing your existing website
The web today is so different from what it was even as little as a couple of years ago. It is far more interactive. This means it is drawing in more and more people who formerly were only "looky-loos" and they are providing feedback, commentary and invective about what they do with products/services as well as what they find good/bad in their use of those products and services.
Because the web has changed, the typical small business web site needs to change too - and so too does the small business attitude toward the web need to change. The web is no longer just the realm of a business-card or brochure style web presence. Today the web needs to be the focus, or at least one of the major focusses of your customer interactions.
In addition, a recent Forester study - US Interactive Marketing Forecast 2009 to 2014 predicts that the interactive (i.e. web 2.0) will cannibalize traditional media which means that you will have to at least do something on the web in addition to what you do with advertising and marketing in traditional media.
The recent (2008-9) poor economic conditions have made the "free" (or at least very inexpensive) interactive marketing techniques and tools much more effective and less expensive than traditional marketing. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter - all have their place in this, and all may be used with little direct cost. If you have spare time due to poor market conditions, why not use it to do some marketing?
People want increasingly interactive customer relationships. They want to be able to tell you directly not only (hopefully) when you do something wrong, but when you do something right too - and they'll tell others!
This is where moving away from the typical "business card" or "business brochure" style of web site to one more condusive to interaction makes a lot of sense.
In our case, we pretty much use glFusion for most new sites. We've worked with many of the other open source CMS (content managed systems) including Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress and many others, but with few exceptions we've found some excellent reasons to stick with this toolset, not the least of which is that it tends to require far fewer security updates than many others - a bonus that allows us to host and administer a site for far less than otherwise.
Over this series of articles we'll be covering many of the aspects of interactive sites that make them generically much better for today's business web presence, as well as some tips and techniques you can use yourself once your site has been set up.