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Monday, Jul 28, 2014

10 Things to Consider When Building Your Web Portal

A Plasma Computing Group White Paper

For most companies, refreshing their website or building out a web portal for a new product or business line can be an overwhelming experience. You’ve budgeted time and money to tackle this project, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. If planned properly, you will be in a great place to deploy a website which will impress your customers, and your boss.

Below are 10 things to consider and put in your checklist before embarking on this journey.

1. What are your goals?
Are you looking to build out a lead generation website to get new customers? Do you need an e-commerce website to sell your products online? Are you building a portal to make life easier for your customers and employees?
The end goal of the website will drive the entire process.

2. Who is your audience?
Who will be using your website on a day-to-day basis? What are their needs, what are your users like demographically and psychographically? The type of people who will be interacting with your web portal will directly impact the user interface, the functionality and how the portal is configured.

3. Functionality
What will your web portal do? Is there a unique functionality that can enhance your companyÕs workflow? Do you need to integrate with multiple platforms and exchange data with several systems? Beyond just the look and feel of your enterprise portal, the functionality of the site is the single most important consideration.

4. Content Management System
How frequently will you be updating your website? If you will have a non-technical user maintaining your website then you will need a Content Management System (CMS) to allow you to swap out text, images and video on your own without coding. You will need to decide, based on your needs and budget, what CMS will work best for your business.

Content Management System

5. Mobile (Responsive)
With an ever-increasing number of users accessing your site from mobile phones and tablets, your site MUST cater to your customers. This means that functionality, usability, and look/feel must be maintained or be gracefully integrated for mobile devices. A Responsive site can automatically “respond” to the browser type and serve up a great looking user experience.

Mobile Responsive

Your site needs to look amazing on computer, tablet & phone.

6. Search Engine Optimization
If your web portal relies on customers finding you then Search Engine Optimization (SEO) must be at the forefront of your strategy. SEO is essentially designing and making changes to your site in order to ensure that major search engines like Google and Bing find you and rank your site for relevant keywords. This is done by optimizing content on your site, ensuring site structure integrity & integrating with social media and other sites, which will link back to your site.

7. Social Media Integration
More and more users are turning toward social media to find companies to do business with. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google+, and LinkedIn provide opportunities to network, which could potentially generate leads.
The messaging, tone and content paint a picture of your business’s culture and personalize your networking experience.

Social Media Integration

Potential clients and even future employees gain a sense of character and culture when engaging with your social sites.

8. Content & Imagery
Web Portal content is typically a place where companies vastly underestimate the effort required to get something worthwhile in place. Whether you write content yourself or hire a content writer to augment this effort, content is king and will drive traffic to your site as well as retain visitors. Imagery is another important consideration. You will need to prepare by either gathering your own imagery or utilizing stock photography and graphics.

9. Security
An unsecure shopping cart or web form will not only leave you with disappointing results but can also leave your organization vulnerable to cyber-attacks, hacking and liabilities if you have a customer information breach. SSL certificates, regular server and application scans and backups are all necessities to launch an enterprise portal.

10. Tracking
OK, so you’ve launched your site, now how is it performing? What pages are people visiting? How long are they spending on the site? Where are people coming from? The first step after launching to make your portal a well-oiled machine is to ensure that you have a tracking application installed.

Tracking

Tracking screenshot from Google Analytics. Image from Google.com.


Plasma Computing Group is a Dallas HQ company specializing in Enterprise level web-based process automation, analytics & dashboards, and web portals. Plasma has helped some of the largest organization in the world launch web portals, including: AT&T, Cable & Wireless, Freeman, Tupperware & Builders FirstSource. Plasma automates manual and inefficient business processes along with driving Website, Online Marketing Strategies and Presence.

www.plasmacomp.com
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Produced in the United States of America June 2014

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