Research, Review and Confirm before you build
by Hartmann Software Group, Window Shopper
- Created: May 22, 2013, 3:42 pm
Most businesses require the development or use of some sort of software application be it one that is purchased or one that is built. Neither of these undertakings are, necessarily, difficult but they can mean the difference between the success or failure of a business. In this discussion, I will only focus on the latter topic i.e. the building of software and table the buying for another posting. For many small businesses, the extent of building software is limited to building a website. Depending upon the website's functionality, this can be quite involved and cost a considerable amount of money. To that end, here are some suggestions that may minimize the cost and maximize the site's success: 1. Research and Review what is important to potential customers. If the intent of the site is to not only provide information but to attract visitors, the more articles you post, the greater the likelihood you will begin developing a readership. This idea of integrating blog posts on your website is absolutely key as it will certainly help you gain visibility. 2. Consider if you wish to capture visitor information. A simple option would be to use Google Analytics as it is a very straightforward process that any decent software developer can integrate into your site. You will be able to see the number of site visitors and some of their demographic information. Another option would be to have the site's developer integrate a call for action i.e. by entering and confirming an email address, the visitor is rewarded with an article full of invaluable information. 3. Create use cases that provide an overview as to the website's functionality. This should detail the functional requirements and when they are to be included. An example of this may be that the site initially provides information about your business and enables you to update articles as you see fit without having to know anything about software or website design. The next release may enable visitors to leave comments. Another release may integrate the sale of goods ... By identifying and organizing the site's release cycles, you will a. be able to use the site sooner than later b. increase the potential for the business' success as measured by the number of site visitors c. build confidence in your design skills and in the decisions you are making to grow your business d. learn what is important for the business instead of guessing what is important 4. Use free or open source software when possible. MySQL database, languages like PHP, Java and ASP .NET should be considered. Purchase a web design template as they are relatively inexpensive when compared to having someone build a unique site, they can be very professional looking, and there are a number of options available which do not tax your time and creative juices should you elect to develop your own. Do, however, spend some money on a great logo. 5. Most importantly, have fun and do not set your expectations inordinately high. Do expect that within a week's time you have a site that looks great and can be easily updated.
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