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In Web Site Strategy and Planning, Jen Kramer shows that there’s more to building a web site than just implementation. She describes how to create a plan that will ensure the end product meets the client’s needs and is as efficient and scalable as possible. Jen explains how to identify the right technology for the design, whether it is CMS-driven or static, and how to organize content and graphics. She shows how to create a project proposal that includes pricing and milestones that demonstrate to the client that work is being done. She also discusses how to measure the success of the design through analytics and user feedback.
Now that we know exactly what kinds of functionalities are required to make the site work with the business strategy, it's time to start thinking about exactly which functionalities those are. For example, we know we need a blog and a photo gallery, but which blog and which photo gallery, and what about the press releases the client will be posting? Ideally, these functionalities are available under a single platform. Clients don't want to go one place to do the blog, another place to do the photos, and a third-place to do press releases.
Ideally, the client can log in one place and complete all the required tasks there. Sometimes, you might find technologies the client thinks they need, but perhaps they really don't. A client does not need an event calendar if they only have a handful of events each year. If they have one event a month, it starts to make more sense. Social media is an important part of the site, potentially, depending on the market they wish to reach. Is a Facebook page required? Should they be on Twitter? Remember, this all takes time, so if they don't have the manpower to keep up with that Facebook page or to tweet a little bit now and then, perhaps they should skip those social networking tools.
Given Hansel's love of Facebook, we created a Facebook fan page where happy clients could post their photos of beautiful flowers at their events. This was a good way to reach brides in their 20s and early 30s. The website would be built with Joomla!, an open-source content management system. Jen suggested a Joomla! photo gallery component to use for the site and it would be easy to set up the blog in the Joomla! framework as well. Hansel would have a single login for Joomla! and a second one for Facebook.
Then we discussed whether we should have a single website with all of the bouquets as well as the event planning or whether we should break it into two websites. The advantage of putting everything in a single website is that it's all in the same place. The site has already been up for a while and it's been indexed by Google. However, the target audience for $100 bouquets is very, very different than $10,000 floral extravaganzas. Those audiences have very different needs and it's hard to combine those needs into a single website.
If we broke the website into two separate sites, you could talk to each audience directly on those sites. But unfortunately, it does mean two websites to maintain. It takes a while to work up the awareness in Google of the second site, as well. Ultimately, we decided to split out the event services from the bouquet site. They felt that the bouquets detracted, somewhat, from the message of complete customization. Also, since people want to spend different amounts of money, say, $20 for flowers for their wife one evening or $2,000 flowers for a wedding, we wanted to home the message specifically for the higher end market.
The new website address will be events.hanselandpeatal.com and the bouquet site will be to be www.hanselandpeatal.com. We'll have a link from the bouquet site to the event site, but not a major link from the event site to the bouquet site. We'll just put a small subtle link in the footer. Since you did your homework earlier and you decided which functionalities were a good fit with the business strategy, by the time you get to this point, picking up the technology to drive those functionalities is a relatively straightforward process.
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