Gaining Online Advantage: Conclusion - part 13

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 9 February 2006


Over the course of this three part article I have looked at matching your business needs to your audience needs on the web, global branding, navigation and search, classification and indexing, internationalisation and localisation, the relationship between intranet, extranet and internet, and finally the issue of personalisation.

A successful web presence will depend on not just how well the site meets your business needs, but how well it meets the needs of your audience. You can have the most fantastically designed and functionally advanced website in the world, but if it isn't providing the service and the information your customers and users want, then it will not be a benefit to your enterprise in the long term.

You also need to ensure that your internet presence is optimised to help your business work effectively. You need to consider, for example, the kind of extranet tools you might need in order to bring together a geographically disparate organisation.

Your web presence should also market and unify your brand in the eyes of your customers. One of the things that would make life easier at the BBC would be if everyone in the UK would just take the time to memorise the structure of the organisation, then it wouldn't need to worry about search and classification since then it would be obvious to the public why Gardener's Question Time is on the Radio 4 site, not under the /gardening URL.

Of course, that isn't going to happen, and it isn't going to happen for your business or organisation, so you need to make sure that your site pulls together all the different content publishing business units into one coherent proposition with the kind of 'glue' techniques I touched upon earlier.

So I hope the above has answered some questions, or at least given you some pointers as to the answers to the big question I posed at the start of this three part article, why does every business and organisation need a web presence, and how can it make it a useful and successful one.

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