The DigitalFilipino Web Awards aims to advocate the use of Internet and e-Commerce for business development, through the identification, promotion, and highlighting of best e-Commerce practices from various websites in the Philippines.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lessons Learned: Making a Great Website

The staging of the Web Awards allowed us to have a point of reference on observations and suggestions that website owners could consider in building their site. This includes:
  • Need for management to participate in building the website. They should care about their online reputation and ensure that it will reflect what the company stands for and how its service can be used online.

    Most chief executive officers today obviously do not understand or appreciate their websites, as they hardly visit them. This creates a situation of ignorance. Although they may know how their physical store works, how it looks, how business is done, these can’t be said about their online counterparts. Website reviews should also be considered as a topic in boardroom meetings, with professional web designers providing advice as necessary.

  • Sites that use open source codes should be customized and fit to the look and feel of the company. This way, uniqueness and identity creation are achieved.

  • If the site has numerous products or contents, having a search feature will help the users a lot in finding the products they need. The terms of sale must also be fully disclosed to avoid surprises with buyers later on.

  • Content matters a lot. It should be up-to-date, informative, responsible and attuned to the purpose or theme of the site. It is inviting for the visitor to stay and learn more. The site should not be content overloaded, as it will make the user tire easily.

  • Websites are encouraged to have a strong emphasis on providing further service and support to clients. This is where cross-media customer communication should be harnessed or explored.

  • Visuals must be used wisely. A site does not have to be extravagantly designed but attractive enough to indulge its readers. The site must also guide the user on where to go or how to navigate within. This is where usability testing matters a lot.

  • The marketing aspect should be well thought of and consistent with one’s offline marketing strategies. It is disappointing to see when the website is not aligned or reflective of the company in its offline world. This cannot be done unless it is clear that it is serving a different purpose. Most sites were built without search engine marketing in mind therefore not taking advantage of social networks, social media, and the likes to drive traffic that may also lead to desired conversion.

  • Websites must provide a means for contact using more than just one method. But due to spam mails, a lot of companies are reluctant in posting e-mail address and fax numbers on their sites. Careful thought must be given on missed opportunities that may result to this.

  • No matter how beautiful a website is, if it is not search engine friendly, it misses the opportunity to be found online. Proper attention must be given to titles, description, keywords, assets, among others found in the site to maximize search engine exposure.

  • Proper care must be given on the back-end and coding of the site to ensure that it is fast loading.
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Janette Toral is the site owner of At her highest value, she delivers independent insights through research, education, training, e-learning, consulting, public speaking.

She is a Fascinate Certified Advisor, Certified ScrumMaster, and Certified Scrum Product Owner. 

She participated in the IVLP or International Visitors Leadership Program 2011 (individual program) sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. Featured as 1 of the 6 women innovator at the APEC Women and Economy Summit 2011, San Francisco, USA.

She got recognized as Champion of Philippine Internet and E-Commerce Hall of Fame Award given by Asian Institute of E-Commerce in 2010; Globe Tattoo Digital Elder Award 2009; E-Services E-Champion Awards 2008 - Policy and Legal Category by the Department of Trade and Industry / CITEM / Board of Investments; International Schools Cyberfair Ambassador Award 2004 and 2002 given by Global Schoolnet USA; World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) Philippines Awards 2003 E-Learning Category for her E-Commerce Workshop Online.

Janette, as former technical consultant / executive director of the Congressional Oversight Committee for the E-Commerce Law, was instrumental for the creation of policies in the area of consumer protection (value added services, e-commerce, electronic banking), data privacy for the private sector, and acceptance of electronic payment in government. 

As founding president of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society, she was instrumental for the passage of the Y2K Law and E-Commerce Law. She retired in 2002. Other organizations she served as board member in the past were the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PH-CERT) and Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP).

She is a distinguished expert for the 2nd Expert Committee of APEC E-Commerce Business Alliance.

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