The “5C’s” for a successful web site.
I hear it all the time – people complaining that their web sites are not delivering the results they expected. Usually, this is after they have spent thousands or even millions of shillings and are not seeing an iota of the massive returns they had hoped for. So, what went wrong?! More often than not, its not what went wrong but rather their web sites we’re broken from the time they went live. By saying that these web sites are broken I mean that they do not conform to five key principles that are needed for a web site to succeed. I call these the â€œ5C’sâ€ for a successful web site.
The first C for a successful web site is content. Content is the very thing that keeps people coming back to a web site, time and again. It is not just the amount of content that matters but also how frequently it is updated and whether its relevant to the targeted audiences. In addition, content is not just limited to text but rather also includes video, audio and other forms of content for download. The funny thing is that most businesses do have lots of content but they don’t put it on their web sites, or they don’t have it online in the right quantity, or quality.
The second C is for commerce. A business web site has to have a commercial focus if it is to be successful. This can be by driving direct sales online through e-commerce or could be lead generation that eventually leads to offline sales via a sales force or call center. This means that a web site has to be built with this focus in mind so that users are explicitly or implicitly channeled to a sales oriented action. One of the emerging ways of doing this is having real-time live chat on your web site to help customers and prospects make a buying decision. Its also about ensuring you invest in internet marketing to increase the visibility of your web site.
The third C is for community. Today, its almost a no-brainer that your web site needs to be about more than your corporate profile and offerings. Successful web sites have features or extensions that encourage a sense of community. These features can be a blog, discussions forums, opinion polls and online surveys. They can also be links to social media such as Facebook fan pages, Twitter profiles, YouTube channels and LinkedIn groups. Ultimately, its about engaging customers and prospects in an interactive manner where they â€œbelongâ€ to your web site.
The fourth C is for context. Context is basis upon which your web siteÂ is relevant or not to your target audiences. If your web site is not contextually relevant whether its for product information or media downloads then it will not succeed. The easiest way to ensure that context is achieved on a web site is to ask the users what they would like to see on the web site. From this point of view, email feedback forms and even social media can provide low-cost and effective user feedback channels.
The fifth and final C is for continuity. More often than not, web sites go live but are not maintained or managed for continuity. What I mean in this respect, for instance, has the very real prospect of a web site being hacked at any given time been considered? The consequence of such an action could be loss of business and trust, especially where services such as e-commerce are concerned. Yes, continuity is exceptionally important for a successful web site which means regular backups, up-to-date back-end applications, secure hosting and proactive monitoring need to be the order of the day.