Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Web skills required to develop a great website

In the golden days of programming, life was relatively easy. The development of applications was for mainframes or mini-computers and required a limited set of skills. Those days are over. Today's web environment, although very rich in terms of capabilities, is extremely complex and required a very long list of skills.

This means that you cannot expect to have a great website if it is built by a couple of guys who do everything.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Website maturity model

Some websites are hopeless, some are OK and some are great. How’s yours?

If you google "Maturity Models", you will see that there are many such models. At the top of my result page is the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) by Carnegie Mellon University. Further down is Gartner's IT infrastructure and operations maturity model. Not to be outdone by such small organizations, I have come up with my own maturity model for websites.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The CMS trap and how to avoid it

Practically every website built in the last few years includes a CMS (Content Management System). This functionality allows website owners to update themselves the content on their website. It is fantastic because it removes the dependency on the webmaster, the IT guy or the agency.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mobile and E-Commerce Strategy

The use of smart phones and other mobile devices is increasing rapidly. In view of this general trend, what mobile strategy should you focus on for your e-commerce site? Would it be worth it for you to develop an iPhone app? Would a mobile site be better? Should all your products and services be available on a mobile device or just a few? These are some of the questions we will try to answer here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Google+ and Organizations

At the end of June 2011, Google launched its own social network, oddly named Google+ but also referred to as G+ and Google Plus. Within a month, 20 million profiles had been created, many by social media experts (yes there are a lot of those).

How should your organization respond to this new social network?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Foursquare and Gowalla will disappear by the end of 2014

In my French blog, I predicted the coming death of Foursquare and Gowalla by the end of 2014. Some of my friends who are experts in social networks disagreed. Of course, those guys have hundreds if not thousands of “friends” in multiple networks. To me, they are not what I call “ordinary” web users. They are geeks with the latest gadgets always on the lookout for new stuff.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Is your website fast enough?

It is very hard to determine the response time of a website. If you measure it, the result will depend on the computer from which the measure is performed, on the page being accessed, on the hosting environment of the website and on a number of additional factors.

Why should you care? First of all, response time is important because web users are notoriously impatient. When a website is slow, they just go to the competition that is a click away. If you are paying ads and banners to bring traffic to your website, you are throwing money out the windows with your slow website. Secondly, since April 2010, the website response time is a factor in Google’s search result rankings.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In-Store Pickup Option on E-Commerce Websites

The Achilles’ heel of E-Commerce has always been the delivery part.  Customers don’t want to pay for delivery and they want to start enjoying their new purchase right away. That’s why they go to online shopping sites that provide the option of in-store pickup. Large American chains including ToysRus, Sears, Walmart, Borders, Lowes and others believe that this feature gives them a competitive edge.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Website Financial Value Map

Recently, I gave a conference on website strategy. In the process of defining the strategy, one must find how the website can contribute to the entire organizational strategy. For this, I have tools and one of them is the “Website Financial Value Map”. I use it in brainstorming sessions to identify areas where the website can create value by either growing the revenue or reducing the costs for the entire organization.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Please Do Not Build My Website Like I Ask You

Are You Disappointed With Your Website?

Your website is not meeting your objectives. Your surveys say that customers do not like it. Your employees feel the same. Yet, it was redesigned at great expense just last year. Your web committee produced a three page report listing all your requirements. You sent a request for proposal (RFP) to four agencies and awarded the contract to a very respectable one. You did all that and nevertheless, your website is not a success. Why? Could it be that your agency developed your website exactly like you asked?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Promoting your Facebook Fan Page From your Website

You finally created your Facebook fan page. Now is the time to get some fans. Your website is the perfect place to promote your Facebook presence. Strangely, it is rarely done well. If you are serious about acquiring fans, this blog post will help you bring website visitors to your Facebook page.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Website Promotion 101

Some organizations have websites that are almost invisible. If you search for their names in Google, you will find them but you will not see their website address printed anywhere. Sometimes, the reason is valid: their website is so bad that they hope no one will see it. If that is not the case, why not let the world know that you have a website. There are numerous options to publicize a website and many hardly cost anything. This is what this post is about.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Web Governance, Crucial to the Success of a Website

I read in the papers about the “Quebec Electronic Health Record” (EHR) project and I just cannot believe the cost and the time it takes to implement. In 2007, the Quebec provincial government spoke of an initial investment of 547 million dollars to computerize, by 2010, the entire Quebec health care network. I do not know how much has been invested so far but we're not even close to implementing this system.

The problem is surely not the technology which is well understood. The database required for the main functions is not particularly complex. The features are simple (input or data import and display). So why is it not already in place? I spoke with a former colleague who worked on the project and he told me that the problem is mostly in leadership. The project governance is simply unable to impose the changes required to implement the system.

This example made me think about the importance of governance in web investments.