“If you build it they will come” may apply to some things, but Web pages aren’t one of them, David Steele, Intrada partner, said. “There’s a lot of people who build Web sites. But without a strategic plan, without the right layout, without a goal you’re not always going to get the results that you want,” he said.
Intrada’s Web developers like to work from those goals, Steele said, to “make sure the results are there.”
Manufacturers, health care providers, utilities, retail outlets and cataloging, telecommunications and Web-based robotic management systems have all gone to Intrada to obtain successful Web sites.
Intrada has provided those companies with strategic Internet and application development, E-commerce, custom systems, networking and online security.
In Internet terms, a hit occurs each time a Web site is visited. But the number of hits does not determine a Web site’s success. “Hits are great,” Steele said. “But what we like to see, more than hits, is people coming and staying, that they’re spending time on the site, that they’re using the resources. That tells us that they’re looking, that they’re interested and you have their attention.”
Give-aways, discounts and special offers are a few sure fire ways Steele said. A Web site can hold a visitors attention.
Basic information about a company isn’t all a Web page needs to be successful. “Why do I want to deal with you?” is a question the site must answer for visitors.
“The industry says you have three to five seconds to capture your audience. So when someone goes to your site, are you telling them what you can do for them? Are you providing a solution? If not, they’re just going to move on,” Steele said.
Professional photographs to enhance a Web site are provided for customers by Intrada’s own photographers. “People are very image oriented,” Steele said. “We like to send in professional photographers to shoot pictures. We want to make sure that quality is there. We want to show their personalities,” he said of clients.
Outdated and poor quality images is one thing Steele said makes a Web site look dated.
“You can tell a lot about a site from imaging,” he said.
Cyber security is an issue that, according to Steele, has become more serious over the years.
“But businesses are not taking it as serious as they should,” he said.
The dangers of having a poorly secured Web site include identity theft and theft of financial information.
“If identity or personal information is taken from a business, the business is held responsible, and that could be serious,” Steele said.
More and more is being demanded of the Internet as the years go on, he added. “The Web needs to do more for people now. The media’s becoming more advanced. People are looking to the Web for answers,” Steele said.
It can take one to three months for a client’s site to reach the Web. “Everything that we do is designed from scratch. We start from a blank piece of paper when we start working with a client and then we build. We like to identify goals and from there we can build the site,” Steele said.
Some companies have internal staff which takes over the Web site after it is completed and launched. Other companies, Steele said, continue to meet with in Intrada to update their site.
“You want to make sure it’s current,” he said. “If you have returning visitors, you have to make sure your site is fresh,” providing new information and keeping visitors intrigued.
Will the Web someday replace the phone book? Maybe. “People don’t use the Yellow Pages anymore to look for companies,” Steele said. “The Yellow Pages are going away. People are going online to find people.”
And with more and more people bringing the Internet into their own homes, accessing the Web is becoming even more common. “It’s amazing how many people have it,” Steele said of the Internet. “It’s amazing how many business don’t have a Web site.”
For those businesses thinking about creating a Web site, Steele said the process requires more “planning than it takes money.”
Almost 100 Intrada Web sites are “active on project sheets right now,” Steele said. Other Web pages have been active since Intrada’s inception in 2000.
More information can be found at www.intradatech.com.