Barry Hebbron, senior lecturer in web engineering for information, communication and technology training and consultancy, the North-east's New Technology Institute
WHAT'S the point in having a website that no one visits, or that doesn't have the information visitors are looking for?
An effective website that appears prominently in search engine listings can only be achieved by creating a clear Internet marketing strategy.
Now that the dust has settled on the dot.com boom and bust, many entrepreneurs are asking: "What exactly has my website done for my business?"
Without the resources of a large IT department but with the pressing need to make every investment pound work hard, small businesses need websites that really earn their keep.
The Internet has changed the competitive environment by shifting more of the buying power to the customer.
In the presence of lower search costs, buyers are finding it easier to research for more information - subsequently, like it or not, every business is being compared to hundreds of similar offers across the globe. The fact that some of these offers are less accessible than others does not diminish the perception of increased supply, which in turn places downward pressure on prices.
How many specialist retailers are being confronted by search savvy customers who demands price matching on a given product because "there was one just like it on the Internet"?
A good performance in search engine listings puts a business in the league table of competitors. It offers a better chance to explain to customers the full range of product benefits, including personal service, after sales care and additional features.
Search Engine Placement optimisation requires a combination of analytical and technical skills. This requires you to understand how search engines work, in turn this requires you to discover techniques for improving and evaluating optimum search engine performance.
At the New Technology Institute Tees Valley and Durham, based at Teesside University, we propose a three-step strategy for improving the performance of your web presence.
Step 1: The Web Performance Plan
Many entrepreneurs understand their business and products inside-out. They created them, nurtured them and brought them to market successfully.
In order to understand the changing environment, business managers need to step back and look at how buyer behaviour may have evolved in their specific market segments.
How has interactivity affected their customers?
How have competitors responded? …