Web Still Rules

I know I am probably a little late to the game, but I am interested in launching a Website for my company. We have been in business for five years and have a good number of clients and a nice stable of products and services, but I would like to do more online. What do you suggest?
–J. Burton, Los Angeles

Well, the beauty of the Web is that you can really make of it what you want. And just because you weren’t one of the first companies online doesn’t mean it’s too late to make the leap–or to at least take baby steps. But before you launch a Website you need to figure out why you need one. Will it enhance what your company offers to customers? Do you have mobile employees who need to access information remotely? Will it help you streamline certain processes and save time and money? Or do you simply need an informational site to provide customers and potential customers with information about your business?

Second, if you can, hire professionals to do the job. Be sure to select an agency or designer who pays attention to what your company needs and not what’s “in” or looks good. One useful resource is Designing Websites by Ilise Benun (How Design Books; $34.99), which offers pointers on creating effective Websites. Third, do your homework. Surf the Internet for Websites that work. That is, sites that are attractive, practical, functional, and interesting. Ask managers and employees for input. And be sure to troubleshoot.

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