A concept gathering considerable momentum in the world of software development is the the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). And it tends to be more valuable for mobile and tablet apps than elsewhere.
We all make the mistake this addresses, but I have to confess that I am one of the worst offenders. That’s because once I embrace an idea, all of my creative juices spring into action, and I go all out. My brain wants to run off to explore every possible feature, bell and whistle and extension imaginable. And this can be a really bad idea for a first release of a new product.
The problem arises from our assumptions, and they in turn reflect what we don’t know.
You probably already realize that your website has a big job to do. Whenever a prospective customer, employee, investor or anyone else is considering a relationship with your company, the first thing they do is check you out on-line.
The core content of your site, which typically describes your products and services, is important, but it may not be enough to hold the attention of your visitors long enough for them to appreciate the value you have to offer.
You may have a great company, but your prospects may never find out.
Today, people do their research on-line before they buy, and it doesn’t take much to lose the trust of someone who doesn’t know you. They will find your website whether it’s good, bad or indifferent and judge you by it, regardless of what else you have to offer.
Unless they’ve worked with you before, almost everything they know about your company may be based on what they see on your site. And when that happens, nothing else matters — not your beautiful facility, your caring staff, your great product or your outstanding service.
We’ve developed quite a few websites for insurance agencies including retail P&C, life and health, specialty agencies and wholesalers/intermediaries, and we thought we’d share some ideas about what makes a site successful.
The first requirement in developing a great site is to understand your audience and their needs. Since agencies are so diverse, we address each major category of firm separately, but the guiding principles are remarkably similar.
E-commerce isn’t right for every organization, but it is the fastest growing sales channel for many retailers, wholesalers and distributors and manufacturers.
Today’s best on-line stores have really grown up. They use much more sophisticated merchandising techniques to help shoppers find the products they want, entice them to buy, and cross-sell other products.
It certainly depends on the type of business they’re in, but in the brick and mortar world, some stores do become hangouts. These are the businesses that tend to take off while their competitors languish, simply because of the traffic, the enthusiasm of their customers and the referrals they generate.
Perhaps dry cleaners don’t become hangouts very often, but coffee shops and bookstores often do. Plumbing supply, auto parts and electrical supply stores also may become hangouts, if only among plumbers, electricians and hotrodders.
For a small or highly homogeneous organization, managing website content may have its challenges, but it lends itself to a highly centralized approach. However, as an organization grows and becomes more diversified, life can become complicated in a hurry.
Problems may occur when different departments, divisions or product groups begin to appear. Each one may operate with some autonomy, as they should, so that they can respond quickly to seize opportunities based on the needs of their customers and their product innovations. If each group were to involve the others, or senior management, in every customer facing decision, it would slow them down considerably. (more…)
We all know the difference between a professionally developed site, and one that looks like your nephew built it.
That is, we all know it when we see it. But rarely do most people have much insight into what causes us to perceive one website as highly professional and another as amateurish.
As web developers, we have been seeing quite a bit of confusion recently from prospective clients about what they should be doing on-line.
On the one hand, almost every organization knows that they need an attractive, up-to-date website, because their customers (and donors, lenders, investors and employees) have been telling them they do. Unfortunately, many don’t have a clear vision of how it will help them, or what they really need. (more…)
Being web developers, we felt that our new website should reflect the most important ideas that we are currently recommending to our clients.
If you want to be at the center of conversation in your field, there is only one way to go about it. Add a content publishing feature to your website.
Content publishing is different than traditional content management (CM). While CM continues to be a great tool, it is mostly designed for adding or updating reference material — for example, static pages that describe your company and its products or services. (more…)