Your Web Site Isn't Finished
The best way to stay up-to-date on how browsers are using your site is to track and analyze what they're doing online, using a program such as Google Analytics. Search results can be especially informative, because they tell you exactly what your customers want; knowing what your customers are looking for can also give you a heads-up on possible brand extensions.
While most small businesses hire outside experts to design their sites, it's crucial that owners stay involved in the day-to-day maintenance. "If a Web site is not constantly refreshed, it falls into what we call ROT: redundant, outdated and trivial," Rosenfeld says. "You need a process in place to handle that fine-tuning, and you have to allocate the staff time to do it. Totally outsourcing all the work on your Web site can destroy your brand. "
Information architects are the research librarians of the digital age, guiding people through overwhelming amounts of data toward the exact resource they need. An effective Web site can direct users in the same way, but only if it's designed with their needs in mind. "Web sites are forums for us to have conversations with our customers," Rosenfeld says. "A Web site is not a monologue -- it should be a dialogue."
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