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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.
Every element of your website should support, in some way, the business strategy and the target audience you want to attract. Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering and Alan Cooper of Cooper talk about the Dancing Bear philosophy of web design. If a bear started dancing, we would all be amazed. How cool is that, that a bear can dance? But if you think about it, bears aren't particularly good dancers. The only reason we find it amazing is because we didn't know bears could dance. Likewise, there are some very cool technologies out there floating around begging to be included on your website, but just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
Each widget should solve a specific strategic problem and we use the word generically to apply to any type of technology you might include on your website. For example, photo galleries are very popular. People love to look at pictures. However, on your business website, do you really need to post pictures of the latest Christmas party? Perhaps you can post these on your intranet, but not on the public website. Let's think about Hansel & Petal and what types of widgets they might use to support their website.
A photo gallery is actually a very good match for Hansel & Petal. They can use it to show sample pictures of events. They should have a few pictures of a wedding, a corporate party, a Christmas party, some photos of a restaurant, a banquet and more. This gives a sense of the breadth of offerings from Hansel & Petal and some ideas of the types of markets they serve well. They should also include a description of each event. Well, it may be obvious that a certain picture is a picture of a wedding, it's always nice to talk about the size of the wedding, how many guests attended and other details, so people get an idea when thinking about their own event that they're planning.
Photos on the homepage would also be a good addition to this website. Preferably, these photos should have smiling and happy people with lots of flowers. Once again, we would probably want to feature some weddings, some board meetings, maybe a fundraiser dinner, and certainly a restaurant full of people. We had decided to include a blog on the website as well. As you saw in the earlier movie, Kirk Hansel is very passionate about environmentally-friendly flowers. A blog is a great way for Kirk to talk about what flowers are in season and talk extensively about the environmental impact of the flower business and how to be greener with flowers.
It's also a great opportunity for him to post a photo of a recent event and talk about the story behind that particular event. Finally, an electronic newsletter would be a great addition to this website. It will be a monthly mailing, which will remind people about time-specific events. For example, Christmas is coming up, time to plan your Christmas party or perhaps it's getting to be time for graduation, birthdays are always in season. This newsletter could also talk about what flowers are in season right now.
The newsletter can also be used to drive traffic to certain posts in the blog and when people arrive in the blog, they're likely to look at other areas of the website as well. Not all features have to be included on this website. For example, Hansel & Petal should probably set up a Facebook page. Facebook reaches a younger demographic and more women. So, this is a good way to reach wedding planners and brides. It's also a great way for happy customers to post their own testimonials about Hansel & Petal's legendary service, in their own words.
Hansel & Petal might also consider using Twitter for tweeting their late breaking specials, which might tie in very nicely with their other side of the bouquet business. For example, if an event has some leftover flowers, they could quickly assemble a discounted bouquet and tweak that has a limited time offer. It's also, a great way to get rid of flowers that are getting just a little bit old. Keep mind that you should not be adding just any kind of widget to your website for any reason.
Every single widget that you add to your website should match something in the business strategy. As long as you keep that in mind as you're adding features and functionality to your website, your website won't be overly cluttered with a bunch of tools that aren't necessarily serving any purpose than being dancing bears.
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