If you plan to establish an online presence for your business or company and create the first web page, you have to consider the objectives and the main purpose of your new website. Every element and detail of your page should mirror the objectives. Not following this rule may result in a hard to manage web page that could finally turn to be useless. You have to establish a clear match between the objectives and construction elements and adopt a flexible structure for the new website in order to cope with further technical changes and corporate requirements.
The main objectives for establishing an online presence are:
- Promoting a service or product online.
- Selling a service or product.
- Providing product support or customer service.
- Providing corporate information.
- Establishing brand awareness and corporate identity.
Let's discuss each of these aspects.
1. Service or product advertising
The main purpose of a business site is to promote company's products, services or events on the Internet. There are two main aspects to discuss. First, there are websites that don't directly sell anything but their objective is to create "buzz" or awareness. An example would be, let's say an event-a trance music performance taking place next month. The purpose of the site is to generate interest so the people will attend the show. This kind of website might contain recorded presentations from previous shows, images with the performers, more details on the performance, etcâ€¦
Secondly, there are websites that both promote and sell products or services and this aspect is discussed below.
2. Selling a product or a service online
This is basically the main reason behind the existence of any business website. Selling products and services is the most common objective. You have to provide full and comprehensive information on what you sell, allowing prospective customers to easily order from your site. The information must refer to:
- Features of the product or service
- Payment methods
- Return policies
- Shipping options
- Product or service F.A.Q.
If you sell directly from your website, you must consider additional security issues (example: SSL encrypted connections - https), and to address them in an adequate manner for a safe and pleasant user experience.
3. Providing product support and customer service
Due to its wold-wide nature, the Internet is a flexible structure allowing users to choose from thousands of similar products they are just one click away. What actually makes the difference between similar online businesses are the price and the customer support they provide. Top companies usually have outstanding customer services and assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Not only the customer service is important to provide support to actual customers but it can generate sales while communicating with prospective clients, answering their questions and offering all the necessary information they need. By offering your clients the possibility to solve their problems in an easy way, you increase loyalty of actual customers and build a solid base of prospective customers - so placing a new order is just a matter of time.
4. Providing corporate information
Almost all big company websites have a section featuring pertinent corporate information for potential investors. The information in this section usually refers to: corporate background, company officials, different articles and editorials written about the company along with related images as well as contact information and links to personal profiles of company's representatives charged with management, customer care, advertising, etcâ€¦
5. Establishing brand awareness and identity
Establishing brand awareness or company identity is an ongoing process with the purpose of branding products with memorable names, eye-catching logos and maybe a slogan. In order to establish brand identity, your website must address these elements in a unitary manner. The product logo must reflect the design of your website in terms of graphics, colors, font types and sizes (example: Coca Cola website). The slogan must be unique, original and appealing so the customers easily remember it. All these elements contribute to establishing a strong brand identity.
Brand awareness is important for both online and offline advertising, so all offline promotional items like banners, posters and leaflets must follow the same line as their online counterparts.