Web sites

I think it is just about essential for businesses to have a proper web site. Yes, fine, they can have Facebook pages or whatever, but a serious company should have a formal site that provides useful information for any customer wanting to use its services or products.

A restaurant, for example, should have pictures, a sample menu, contact details and opening times, possibly an on-line booking system (this always sways me, given a choice of two, one with and one without), possibly comments from customers (though the only ones are likely to be good and perhaps not 100% representative). The site should reflect the nature of the restaurant and, if there are rules, eg jacket required, it should say so.

Whatever the business is, the information should be accurate and sufficiently detailed. The contact information will have a telephone number and an e-mail address, and if you send them an e-mail, they should respond in a timely manner.

A formal web site does not have to be boring. It should reflect the nature of the business, it should appeal to potential customers. But, at the same time, some care is needed in the presentation. Black writing on a black background is not good, hidden items, broken links, missing pictures etc and spelling mistakes will put potential customers off. Information should be easy to find. Given all the competition about these days, making it hard for a potential customer to get information is not a good plan.

I was disheartened recently to find a pretty well known rock group had announced a tour for 2018, so went to their web site to see if they were coming my way, which is London. This is their official site. Last updated 2009. Really.

Things like a shop or a forum can be a plus, but need someone who will commit to managing it/them. Of course, a shop especially can be a money earner. For musicians, for example, some kind of unique product will sell. I have several signed discs in my collection. On line chat or help can be good (personally I hate ringing companies and being on hold for hours), but the people on the other end need to actually know things and be helpful.

This just seems logical to me. It’s called being business-like, professional. Web sites don’t have to be huge. I have a few sites and one has nearly two hundred pages. It has generated exactly £0 in the 17 years it has been run, but that is not its purpose. As a repository of knowledge on a certain subject, it is pretty exhaustive, either from what I have included or through links to other sites. There is another site I do for someone that is barely five pages and generates thousands each year. It serves its purpose totally and has no gimmicks, mistakes or waffle. People who visit it find what they need and at least one reliable method for getting more help and purchasing the product.

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