Having a website is mandatory for every business nowadays. Chances are high that your company already owns an online presence. A typical scenario: The webmaster pursues other interests, the last content update was months ago and the whole layout looks aging. You feel that your website no longer serves its main purposes: to represent your company, to promote your current services and products, and to attract new customers. You need to take action, but how to start with?

Add-on or integral part of the business process?

“We have a website, haven’t we?” — It’s a common misconception to see a company website as an “add-on” instead of making it an integral part of the business process. Depending of the kind of your business, a website offers many possibilities to streamline and to simplify operational procedures. This can reduce work load, costs and improve your communication with your clients.

To give an example: If you own a shop and sell goods online it’s a good idea to send your customer automatically an order confirmation by email, to collect new subscribers for your newsletter and to reduce support queries by offering a FAQ section or a user forum. All this can be achieved by your website. You might think this is standard procedure everywhere, but it isn’t. In real life, the order management insists on printing the orders first and to write every invoice by hand, because this was the established routine for the last thirty years. You’ll never know what your customers are thinking because you offer no feedback channel. And you miss the chance to sell an existing customer additional products because you have no suitable marketing tools to inform him actively.

Sustainable online success

A database-driven website could change all that, but it means to embrace it as the vital center of your business processes. It’s a everyday tool, connecting your company and its employees with your partners and clients. It’s a living thing, that demands attention, which means fresh content. And it needs new ideas to grow – an ongoing process to make it even better.

At this point I often feel more than a management consultant than a webdesigner, but this is why I love my job: New businesses often poses new challenges and require to find new solutions. It never gets boring.

A website is more than a URL you point people to, much more. But truth is, a website is only the first step to establish a successful business.