While I have outlined common design mistakes that companies make when setting up their corporate Web sites, you will quickly find that the list is hardly exhaustive. Indeed, setting up a new site or even doing a refresh on anything other than the simplest site can be a daunting challenge-and especially so for small and medium-sized businesses.
How then may you succeed in creating a Web site for your SMB?
Put a Senior Executive in Charge of the Project
A common expectation of many SMBs is that they just need to hire a Web design firm or freelancer, and the expected site will be miraculously birthed a few weeks later. It is important to remember that a Web design firm is so called because it specializes in one thing-the design of your Web site. Actual content creation and population will have to be generated by your company.
As such, I recommend that you put a sufficiently senior executive in place to head the Web site project. This executive will be tasked with managing the entire initiative, and should have the final say over every aspect of its design and direction. In addition, he or she will be the point person tasked with cajoling the necessary information out of the other departments in your organization.
Have a Clear Objective for the Web Site
Like every other project, the objective of putting up a Web site for your SMB should be clearly defined right from the start. Is it to generate x amount of online sales? Perhaps it is to complement the sales team with a more detailed description of the products and services offered by your company; or even merely to establish a simple Web presence?
Personally, I would consider agreeing on an unambiguous set of objectives to be half the battle won.
Know When to Stop Adding New Features
It can be difficult to decide on a freeze on adding new features or to resist incorporating that latest idea suggested by the CEO. As is the case with most programming projects, it is important to remember that every additional new feature has a cost attached to it-either in direct monetary terms for the features requested, or contributing in terms of delays to the final rollout.