Things to Consider When Developing a Website
Orlando, FL Dealers need to have a clear idea in place when
creating a Web site, as well as know their options and the
differences between them. That's the opinion of Louis Hall, CKD,
CBD, CID, of the Fresno, CA-based Residential Design
Consultants, Says Hall, "A common misconception is that the
World Wide Web is the same thing as the Internet. In fact, it's
not. Even though nearly every aspect of the Internet is accessible
with a Web browser, the Web refers to a specific kind of Internet
interface; one that uses hyperlinks and multimedia documents." This
is key for dealers to note when they consider their Web options,
since the Web is a part of the Internet not another name for it
adds Hall, who spoke about this subject at the recent K/BIS, held
Via the Internet, dealers can log on and use it in a variety of different ways, including the Web, says Hall. For example, the other most common facet of the Internet is e-mail, allowing users to send and receive messages, documents and images quickly and easily. Some dealers are, and have been, using this as a way to communicate and stay in touch with clients, explains Hall, especially when a question or problem arises after normal business hours, or if the clients are out of state.
However, the Web presents the best form for dealers to get their name and business out there an easy way for dealers to grow their business, notes Hall. The only caveat, warns Hall, is that dealers need to explore their options, and must be willing to invest some time, as well as some money, into creating one that will suit your business.
"What you want your site to be is up to you," says Hall. Possibilities include a brochure or a gallery (Web site); an information resource (e-mail); an information source (e-mail and links); a lead generator (guest book); communication tools for clients (e-mail and attachments); a source of business (e-commerce); and an intra-office communication tool (network).
"With many companies building sites on the Web, you can access an entire range of services. The Web can become a marketing cornerstone for [dealers] who want to provide easily accessible customer follow-up and support. Many computer software developers have already created vast Web sites with this in mind. New software updates and add-ons can be [obtained] with very little expense," explains Hall.
To get started, he suggests that dealers do some research, and make sure they tailor their Web sites to meet the needs of their kitchen and bath firm (see related column, Page 26).
"But before deciding," advises Hall, "make sure you are prepared to respond to those who visit your site and request additional information. A larger connection means a broader network and referral responsibility."
Halls urges dealers to explore their Web options, as it provides people and potential clients with "an easy way to find the goods and services they desire without leaving their own home." It also serves as a non-threatening, no-pressure place for people to go and check out your work and your firm, 24 hours a day, adds Hall.
Dealers are also advised "to know what is happening at your Web site," once it's up and running. "It is important that you be able to access traffic information for your site. Are you getting hits? When and from where? What pages are your visitors actually finding to access your site? All this information is available through Internet Service Providers (ISP) who have programs to gather and make available that information," explains Hall.