e-business toolbox

Depending on which statistic you believe, there are anything from 60 to 100 million web sites in the world. The big question is, how do you ensure that your site is visited, revisited, and used as intended? In other words how can you stand out from the crowd?

What follows is the top 20 ways to ensure the success of any site.

1 Loyalty The so called “stickiness” is what glues visitors to the site and makes them want to return. If you don’t engage with your visitors/customers/ people on an emotional level you will disappear.

2 Build communities The value of a company is largely determined by total people feeling “involved”. A successful e-business is not just about the volume of traffic.

3 Contact Make sure that people can engage directly with you through the site, whether it is to communicate or purchase. Sites that end with an address or phone number are losers.

4 Content Less is more: content should be focused rather than contain reams of rubbish.

5 Simplicity Can you draw an A4 mind-map of your site and how it all interacts? If you can’t, then it’s too complex.

6 Trendsetting Avoid going with the flow or using tired, old techniques – be pioneering and make your site stand out.

7 Branding Your URL and brand should be attention-grabbing. It also needs to appeal on an emotional level.

8 International outlook Your site is global from day one, so it should act like it is. Avoid parochialism.

9 Be up to date Visitors demand immediacy from a site, so ensure you move with the times. If you do not, it will become a picture frozen in time, not a web site.

10 Alliances You should forge alliances and interaction with other sites and companies. It should not simply hold referral URLs.

11 Have universal appeal Some of the most successful business sites have sections for kids. Companies can learn a great deal from the best designed and most frequently visited children’s sites.

12 Technology Leading edge technology stands out, so be prepared to invest in the latest and the best.

13 Rewarding Customers need to get more out of the site than they put in.

14 Niche markets Does the site target a specialist area? If not, you’ll join the rapidly growing list of dotcom failures.

15 Participation There should be provision for visitors to participate in the design of the site.

16 Viral marketing Ensure your site has the ability for a visitor to recommend it to a friend.

17 Navigation and clarity The design must be simple and the site easy to get around. Access to any area must be no more than three mouse clicks away.

18 Speed If the download time of the site is slow, the number of hits will go down and business will be lost.

19 Reliability If it isn’t 100 per cent, you need to change your host provider. Check immediately!

20 Search engines Search engines. Is your site on search engine lists? Make sure it is and use techniques to make sure your site comes first.

Source: David Taylor, president of the association of IT directors, Certus. Based on 60 interviews with chief executives, IT directors and teenagers

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