The Company Website

A company’s website is part of its product or service. The conventional wisdom is that all

businesses should have a website. The reality is that there are many small businesses that do

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very well for themselves without a web presence. The small local deli, accounting or insurance

services, a legal firm, a liquor store, or a dental office may not see the need for a website. At the

same time, customers are increasingly expecting a web presence, so any small business that does

not have a website runs the risk of losing sales because of it. The time may also be approaching

when not having a website will be perceived as odd, with questions raised as to the seriousness

of the business. Every small business without a website should determine whether this matters

to them or not.

This section about the company website is targeted to the small business that has a web

presence already or is planning to have one. A small business owner should have a basic

understanding of website design to contribute to the discussion and communicate effectively

when working with professionals [30]—as well as to organize the owner’s visceral reaction when it

is time to evaluate other websites, plan the company’s website, or revise the company’s current

website. [31] In addition, any commitment to e-marketing requires a website.

Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab found that people quickly evaluate a website

by visual design alone, with the visual design setting the tone for the user’s

experience. [32] “Image is everything online. Good design evokes trust, makes navigation clear,

establishes branding, appeals to target customers, and makes them feel good about doing

business with the website they are on. Design does not have to be expensive for it to work. It

does, however, need to represent an organization and appeal to a visitor. Professional design is

not something organizations spend money on; it is something they invest in to support trust,

positioning, and long-term marketing” (emphasis added). [33]

This section of the chapter discusses website objectives and the fundamental design elements:

layout, color, typography, graphics, interactivity, navigation, usability, content, and

performance. User experience is also discussed.


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