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Word of Net


Merging business email marketing software campaigns

April 9th, 2014 by Kat

For years, marketing to business leaders versus individual consumers was considered to be distinctly different. Business to business (b2b) marketing, including b2b email marketing software, required companies to get big about data. This is due, in part, to how appealing business leaders find statistics, reports and charts to be. Data usage, measuring marketing results and data acquisition are key components of b2b marketing.

System Code
Creative Commons License photo credit: Yuri Yu. Samoilov

Marketing to individual customers or businesses

Internet trends are changing that by giving individual consumers access to larger amounts of big data. As Fourth Source reports, marketing tools are also blurring the lines between b2c and b2b marketing. For example, content and b2b email marketing software campaigns have made it increasingly possible for individual consumers and business leaders to read the same data.

With b2b email marketing software campaigns, both business leaders and individual consumers want to feel as though the person sending them marketing messages knows them personally. They want to be addressed by first name and receive information that speaks directly to their perceived unique needs. Both also want to learn about pricing deals they can take advantage of, but only if the products and services they get deals on will help them to move forward.

Creating more personal b2b email marketing software campaigns has required companies to get to know the  businesses they market to better. Simply buying email lists and researching companies online or while searching through reference journals is no longer enough. Today companies have to keep up with changes that are affecting businesses they market to. For example, instead of addressing digital newsletters and direct emails to “the president” or “CEO”, to conduct successful b2b email marketing software campaigns, companies are addressing email to CEOs and presidents by their first and last names.

Advantages baked into b2b and b2c email marketing solutions

Sounds simple until you consider that executives at some firms change every two to three years. So, specialist at companies that leverage 2b2 email marketing software have to get out and meet prospects in person. They have to develop rewarding relationships with these business leaders, making themselves a part of the business leaders’ ongoing successes, which leads to another point.

As a standalone product, b2b email marketing software could connect companies with thousands of business prospects in a matter of minutes, especially if the software is used to educate and inform rather than to push hard sales messages. Yet, to expand the impact of b2b email marketing software, company marketing specialists have to get active on social media platforms.

This allows them to keep their messages in front of the right prospects, and, in environments that don’t lend themselves to hard sales messages. This is also another area where b2b and b2c marketing strategies have been seen to overlap. If used effectively, this overlap could benefit both the companies that offer 2b2 email marketing software and the business leaders they supply the software to.

One of the most successful examples of this is when Microsoft sold its software to corporations, non-profits and small businesses at the same time that it pulled in sales from individual consumers. The brand had become so highly perceived that it transcended different types and levels of buyers and businesses. When using b2b email marketing software effectively, company marketing specialists could yield similar results. Furthermore, some b2b email marketing software is actually built for usage by solopreneurs as well as business leaders heading up larger firms.


Hiring IT Staff? Make Sure They Can Do These 5 Tasks

October 10th, 2013 by Kat

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If you’re running a business office for the first time, nobody needs to tell you the importance of IT staff. A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and GEM Education found that nearly 40 percent of business leaders in the US, UK, China, and Brazil rank IT skills as the number one most important thing a job applicant can offer their company. But which IT skills, exactly? And is being a programming whiz the only qualification for being a valuable worker? When you’re looking for people who can manage your computer network, protect your data, and be there when something goes wrong, you need to know they can succeed at the most basic tasks. No matter how impressive their resume may be, ask yourself how they’ll fare with the following.

1. Training Employees

Antisocial IT employees who sit behind their desk and have no idea how to interact with their colleagues are just no good to you. Your IT staff should develop user-friendly systems that are easy to learn, but they need the ability to teach them. This also means they need the ability to talk in front of a crowd on occasion and keep the office up to date on emerging technologies, changes in IT policies, and system updates. They should be able to explain things.

2. Know the Basics

Your IT staff should understand the basics of networking, including checking DNS and troubleshooting. They also need to know system administration – file permissions, bandwidth limitations, and latency. They should also simply be able to fix the most basic PC issues, like problems with printers and file backup. If you put your IT staff behind the help desk, they should be able to solve the most common problems that they’re likely to hear every day.

3. Work on a Team

This goes back to the importance of IT staff who have good people skills. Not every IT employee will thrive in a team environment, which is fine – it can be productive to keep the best individual workers working individually. But they should all be able to work together when needed, whether they are tackling an all-night project or developing important software. Strong IT staff members should never think of themselves as the smartest one in the room, and they should be willing to listen and learn from other people.

Festivaletteratura 2010 | Mobile A2K: Access To Knowledge

4. Be Self-motivated

Employees shouldn’t have to rely on their peers or the IT manager to explain every process to them. You need workers who would rather figure things out on their own and who are motivated to learn. There are IT professionals out there who much prefer getting more work than they think they can handle instead of sitting around with nothing to do, and these are the ones you should look for in the interview process. Of course, being motivated to work on their own means they will get things wrong sometimes. And that’s okay, as long as they don’t keep making the same mistake.

5. Understand Costs

IT staffs need a basic understanding of what it takes to run a business, especially the different financial commitments involved. You need workers who won’t go over budget or waste time. They should know the difference between operating and capital costs, and even know how much energy network devices are burning. When they grasp how to take money into account, they’ll be able to help you save some, which is a skill to look for in employees of every department.

As a business owner, you don’t need to understand complicated computer programming to run your office. In fact, you don’t even need IT staff who are programming experts if your industry doesn’t require it. What you need are talented professionals who can be an important part of your team both online and off.

IT Brett Harris attended one of the Top 10 colleges for online computer science degrees. Interested? Check them out and see if one fits your needs here http://www.topcomputersciencedegrees.com/top-online-computer-science-degrees/.


Growing Your Business the Leaflet Distribution Way

October 9th, 2013 by Kat

Leaflet Distribution: The Ultimate Way to Secure Sales

The Benefits of Leaflet Distribution When Trying To Increase Sales

Leaflet drop
Creative Commons License photo “Leaflet Drop” credit: The U.S. Army

Leaflet distribution offers a valuable service to businesses of all kinds and at any stage in their growth.  However, for businesses which are seeking to expand their sales and their customer base, leaflet distribution can help to secure sales in a variety of ways:

Brand Awareness

Your business is your brand and the surest way to increase sales is to increase awareness in your brand, your business. At a general level, leaflet distribution offers one of the more cost-effective methods of getting your brand ‘out there’.  However, add to this a carefully researched approach which directly links your brand and your businesses to your potential customers through a direct marketing leaflet distribution campaign, then brand awareness and additional sales may be much more successfully achieved, without the hit-and-miss potential of expensive mass media advertising.

Response = Revenue

According to the British Marketing Survey (2010), leaflet distribution advertising achieves significantly higher rates of response from customers than all advertising channels – including those expensive mass-media campaigns.  This added potential for conversion of customer interest into direct sales makes leaflet distribution one of the surest sales methods for businesses at any stage in their growth.

Design + Distribution: the personalised approach to sales

The key to successful sales is to ‘hook’ potential customers with information, deals, discounts, offers and easy means by which they can make contact and gain access to those great offers and services.  Leaflet advertising which is lively, engaging and has been designed with a customer-focused ‘hook’ in mind, coupled with carefully targeted distribution, increases the chances of sales through a more direct, personal approach to the identified customer demographic.

Solus: the sure way to stand out

When the ultimate goal of a leaflet distribution advertising campaign is sales, it’s worth remembering that the method of leaflet distribution can be just as important as the content of the leaflet itself.

The leaflet distribution industry offers its own “Rolls Royce” equivalent of delivery, the Solus distribution method.  With this method, the leaflet for your business is delivered completely alone: it’s the only material pushed through the door by the company and as such receives the spotlight on the doormat.  Unlike advertising methods which ‘group’ like companies (and therefore the competition) together, such as in directory advertising (on-line or brochure), Solus has the additional potential for achieving sales by allowing your business to clearly stand out from the competitors – the customer is not reminded of this element of ‘choice’ and is much more likely to respond to the option they are have in-hand: your business information.

Online Spam enhances door-drop sales

Whilst each generation’s use of digital medial continues to grow, many potential customers are automatically put off by uninvited sales media dropping into their mail boxes.  Many people automatically trash these items without even reading them, even if the mails have succeeded in getting past anti-spam security.  With those in-hand leaflets, the customer gets to see very quickly what is on offer; indeed, market research has indicated that customers are much more responsive to these more traditional, printed campaign materials, demonstrated through a greater rate of conversion to sales.

Mark Spencer is a Marketing Specialist, with over 15 years experience in the Marketing field and Direct Marketing Techniques.


Does Customer Database Benefit Retail Marketing?

September 27th, 2013 by Kat

How you measure your success defines your strategy and vision of the work. If your goal is higher sales, of course you can boost them, but how? If your goal is more customers, you may get them but they may not be profitable. Why? Well, most of the retailers have the notion that sales and discounts are the road to success, but they fail to realise that they may actually be the road to ruin. Today’s retailer finds it difficult to both acquire and retain customers.

Salford Business School launches unique open access online course
Creative Commons License photo credit: University of Salford

The expanding technologies, an unstable economy and the growing competition-all bring dramatic changes to the way consumer behave and shop. Therefore, an effective way to retain your customers is by creating a database and following the basic principles of database marketing. The strategy not only helps to uncover new sales opportunities but help to zero in on the lucrative market segment and generate profitable business.

The biggest advantage with your customer database is to promote merchandise to specific consumers for additional sales opportunities. The database pinpoints the right customers towards a premium or deluxe products. And thus, you can market to them differently from those customers who are not interested to spend much. Now if you think it will only help you to enhance the profit, you are wrong. Besides the profit, it will actually reduce your overall marketing expense.

Probably your next question is how would you create this customer lifetime value?

Ask your customers to provide you data and create a database complete with purchase history. If you wish to keep a track of their spending, you can record their credit cards or get your customers use a plastic member card.

Once you have the record, use the data to segment your customers by profitability.

When you actually implement the above mentioned strategies, you may discover that 20% of your customers are giving you 80% of your profits. But this is not your major lookout. Of course provide them special services and attention but your aim should be to target those customers who give you an average profit. They are more likely to join the previous 20% customers only if you encourage them. Remember, a cordial relationship with the customer only works, when the customers benefits from the relationship. Therefore, the retailing trick is to provide such services to the customers that will modify their behaviour in profitable ways. And the trick lies in acquiring the right customer database.

A data analyst’s extracts data required for analysing the customer behaviour. The database comes from the following sources:

Customer master file:

The file contains a list of customer’s name, address, phone number, email, transaction data and store shopped

Transaction file:

Analysts link the transaction file to the customer file to understand how frequently a customer shop, how much they spend in total, what channel and shipping method they use

Transaction detail:

With the transaction detail, the analysts can see what specifically is being purchased, how much is spent on a particular item, whether the shopper has used coupons and the overall margin

Contact history:

The analysts see how frequent, by what channels and with which offers the customers are contacted by the retailer. This determines the impact on purchases

Product hierarchy:

The collected data now enable the analysts to roll up the purchase detail information to the departmental level to see the overall purchasing pattern.

Now the real work begins. The data is put into a logical structure with an initial investigation to ensure the integrity of the data. Such a systematic approach improves targeting. The retailers find an insight into what to market and to whom and when. The retailers have two groups of people- one segment will never see again and the other one will shop with the retailer again. The data analysis helps to determine which customers have the potential to actually spend.

In a nutshell, customer database reveals the following:

How much does a customer spend?

How often does a customer shop?

What is the retention rate over time?

What is the average time between the purchases?

How profitable are the high-spending customers?

Jeremy Gomes is a senior media analyst (both Online and Print) working in a market research company. He also takes part in the development of audience measurement and multimedia monitoring tools. He takes inspirations from Kantar Media UK while doing his research work.


How to Respond to the Age of Informational Fluency

September 16th, 2013 by Kat

Scattered Information

We live in a world with disjointed information and incomplete thoughts. Information has become increasingly abridged, and as for whether or not this is helping us-take a look for yourself! Even the most basic forms of human expression have been condensed to a handy acronym or succinct phrase. Even already simple phrases have undergone more abridging!

Generations
Creative Commons License photo credit: fdecomite

We live in an expedient age in which everything needs to be as brief and efficient as possible. Information no longer flows in a way that is fluid and simply to grasp. It is everywhere, it has no structure and it is spread far too thin. Furthermore, information is often compromised by unwanted sources.

Instead of accessing information on a variety of different platforms, simply integrate it into one, seamlessly operating interface.

Without the Mainframe Unified platform, how will your daily IT operations proceed? Imagine visiting a total of 20 libraries in a single day in order to gather a single, unified piece of information. This is a great analogy of life without this software. You will essentially be trying to harness information from countless outside sources, not a very practical approach.

Mainframe Data Integration In simpler Terms

In the world of business, IT professional have taken up a more analytical view of data, and have sought ways to integrate it across the span of organizations, not simply within the bounds of a company. This trend is becoming increasingly prevalent, as the importance of business analytics continues to grow. Many businesses who rely on mainframe integration believe it is a critical aspect of their IT systems’ functionality and utilize it to harness unity across the span of their organizations.

Company’s today don’t just arbitrarily integrate information. They do so according to a rigorous system with pretty strict criteria. Sometimes, when a complex infrastructure or framework grows, it leads to less coherence in the data systems in an organization. They aim to overcome this with mainframe integration.

Some claim that this type of system is simply too expensive to sustain over time. However, others contend that it automates maintenance, leading to less glitches in the IT system overall.

How This Can Help You

The framework upon which business thrive is rooted strongly in technology. With a flimsy technological foundation underlying a company, this can only lead to the dissolution of information, data, order and proficiency.

Companies rely on technological resources to record transactions, research, compiled company data, client information and much more. Without a unified, holistic way to view this information, a company rooted in technology will not be able to operate in its full capacity.

Companies depend heavily on file sharing, web servers and a variety of other mechanisms to both store their information, and to share and manage their information. In order to manage company data in a heavily technological world your IT department must implement as many structural and operational strategies as they possibly can. By relying on mainframe integration as a protective framework, you can always ensure that your data is unified, integrated and existent on a single, accessible interface to you and your company. What is a technologically based company without technology? A backwards one! Get with the future times, and start integrating your data!

As the asst. manager for an online marketing organization, Daniel operates as a guest-poster as a way to aid the world of business owned and operated in the States, such as Rocket Software. He resides in The Golden State, and is delighting in life together with his lovely spouse plus their three kiddos. D-to-the-H invites individuals to survey his G Plus vignette today.


How Can Law Firms Better Market Themselves in an Increasingly Digital World?

September 13th, 2013 by Kat

As many new prospective law students attend law school for the very first time, they will be going into a field where there are over 1.2 million licensed lawyers. And according to the Labor of Bureau Statistics, the job outlook for the next ten years looks to be about average at ten percent. This means that there will likely be many opportunities, especially in the technology and intellectual property fields. Some will move on to established law firms, while others will start firms of their own. However, one question that remains is how well they’ll be able to market themselves given the way people find lawyers these days.

Accident Lawyer San Luis Obispo California
Creative Commons License photo credit: TheMayFirm2

The internet has changed the way we do many things, and this includes how we search for things. We find the restaurants we eat at through Yelp, the clothes we want to buy through pins on Pinterest, and the lawyers to defend us or pursue a lawsuit through a simple Google search. Lawyer internet marketing has become a major factor in how law firms and sole lawyers obtain new clients, and firms must pay attention to it to compete in a connected world. So how can lawyers better market themselves?

  • Search Engine Optimization: When an individual conducts a keyword search, there are a wide variety of factors that go into what websites come up first in the search rankings. And getting to the top of the list is incredibly important as very few people go beyond the first or second pages. There are a number of proven ways to improve your rankings through optimal search engine optimization, including onsite work, content enhancement and organic linkbuilding. A search engine optimization firm can also help you localize your website to attract users who do geo-centric searches.
  • Search Engine Marketing: Whenever a user does a keyword search, ads will often be on the page, which are designed to attract clicks through their prominence on the page. Basically, the search engine will acquire revenue based off the amount of clicks received through the ad, but the law firm that is able is to aggressively market themselves through these highly attractive ads above the search results could benefit as well through getting the edge in obtaining new clients. A paid search campaign is a fantastic way to stand above the competition and attract relevant searches.
  • Social Media Marketing: Some internet users don’t even bother using search engines to find prospective law firms. They’ll be attracted to law firms that can effectively market themselves through social media. Think about our society today. Many of us spend a large amount of time on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. A law firm that can tap into this market and deliver engaging posts or tweets will appear authoritative and informative. These efforts can pay dividends in the form of new clients.

It’s a different time for new and current lawyers. In order to attract new clients, they’ll have to pay attention to how people acquire goods and services. As the internet becomes the medium for their searches, lawyers will have to make an effort and embrace lawyer internet marketing.

Author:

Tyler Torres is a seasoned lawyer who enjoys playing hockey


Small Business Ideas For 21st Century Wellbeing

September 11th, 2013 by Kat

The history of small business

These days, small business has become big business. In fact, according to a statistic that’s quoted on the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) website, SMEs comprise 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses in the UK in terms of their numbers. That’s a lot of businesses – and also according to the FSB, small business employs 14.1 million UK workers. That’s more than the population of Belgium.

Create-Youtube-Art
Creative Commons License photo credit: @CreateNWE – European Project – #CreateNWE

And of course many small businesses go on to grow and become massive, unbeatable brands. Just look at Tesco, who started life as a market stall in the East End of London, at Hackney.

The demographics of small business have changed massively over time as well, and these days – rather than small businesses being solely things like corner shops, window cleaning businesses and so on, technology has meant that there’s a bewildering diversity to small and medium (SME) enterprise – from ceramics to software tech startups and lots more.

SMES and wellbeing

Regardless of the variety and dynamism within the SME sector, there’s one thing all SMEs have in common – and that’s the need to focus on wellbeing, since avoiding sickness absence (or at least keeping it to a minimum) can have a very real effect on productivity and the bottom line.

So, what can SME businesses do to make sure that wellbeing is maximised and sick leave minimised? It’s often more of a challenge for smaller businesses since there may not be the budget or HR resources that larger corporate businesses are likely to have access to.

Small business ideas for health and wellness

It’s always worth remembering that as a small business, you’re not alone. And the many of the things you experience or are considering regarding health – such as drawing up a wellbeing strategy and so on – these are all shared by many other businesses too.

In fact, the In Business For Good annual summit for small businesses aims to provide SME organisations with practical advice, and peer support, and offers podcasts from wellbeing experts and other resources. Things like this are worth checking out, as they can often open up new ideas about workplace health with people sharing experience and tips.

There are plenty of free resources for SMEs on the topic of wellbeing – with things like the NHS Health4Work free advice line providing information on any health issues that may be affecting you or your employees. The site also has a ‘knowledge base’ section containing useful guides on things like phased return to work, performing risk assessments, and so on. The address for the site is health4work.nhs.uk

Sickness absence reduction and staff wellness can also be aided by employee benefits such as group health insurance – providers have a range of cover levels available depending on size of business, budget, organisational requirements and so on. There are also EAPs designed for the SME market.

One issue that’s made a lot of headline space over the last few years (and especially in the time following the economic downturn) is that of stress. And with an estimated 1 in 6 UK workers reportedly suffering from either stress/ anxiety or depression at any one time, it’s an issue no business can afford to ignore. But it’s also a personal issue too –how we learn to work in more effective and stress-free ways, identify our stressors and so on. Indeed, in one study that was reported earlier in the year, 2 in 5 of the British SMEs surveyed felt that stress was affecting their business.

So, part of any workplace strategy for wellbeing should have a mental health focus as well as physical health.  Training is available for various stress reduction techniques including mindfulness, which is promoted by the Mental Health Foundation on their site and through bemindful.co.uk

Author Sarah Dall is a business health blogger specialising in group health insurance, human resources and workplace wellbeing.For more on group medical insurance, AXA PPP healthcare have a range of useful information as well as extensive health informatiom onsite.


How To Set Up A Website – The Basics

September 10th, 2013 by Kat

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Creative Commons License photo credit: علي – ali

With the internet being such a major factor in our lives, every business striving for success may want to consider getting an online presence.  But just what does that involve?  If you don’t know what you need to do to set a website up, then read on for some basic guidelines.

Domain name

Before you’ve even got your website together, you’ll need to think of a domain name, ie, the name of the website.  Important consideration should be given to deciding your domain name, because it should be one that is effective and memorable.  It can help with your marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).  You’ll also need to decide on the suffix of the domain name. .com is the most popular.  Once you’ve found a name that doesn’t already exist, you’ll need to register it, with one of the many domain registers.  You’ll need to pay an annual fee for this.

Hosting

Once you’ve registered your domain name, you may then decide to look into web hosting.  A host is a company that has many computers linked to the internet, and will enable your website to be viewed by others when surfing online.  You’ll need to sign up for an account with your web host.  Choosing a web host can be a minefield, especially if you are new to setting up a website.  There are lots of factors and considerations worth bearing in mind.  Some web hosting is free, but they may not be able to offer all of the services you require.  Ask around for recommendations, do some research and pick what’s right for you.  Once you’ve got your web hosting sorted, you’ll need to point your domain to your web hosting account.

Designing the website

The next stage you’ll be looking at is the actual design of your website.  You have two options here.  Either you do it yourself, or you get someone else to do it for you.  There are a number of factors involved.

If your site is likely to be complex, and you require a content management system (CMS), and you have no prior experience, then you may call in the services of a professional website designer to assist you.  Ask around for recommendations.  Or, look at websites you particularly like and source the designer or agency.  Get a few quotes in, play around with ideas of what you want until you settle on the right person for the job.

However, many people with no design or web-building experience develop sites themselves, so there are lots of tools and resources available to guide you through the process.

Many people use WordPress to design their site, as it is a free CMS.  It is easy to use, allowing you to create a website even if you have no knowledge of HTML.  There is a lot of information on the internet how to use WordPress and install it.  You’ll also need to configure your site.

You can also select free themes, using tools such as Themes to make your site look professional.  This is also useful if you want to add plugins to your site, particularly those that can help with SEO. Getting your website indexed on search engines is important so that people can find your site.

Website testing

As you go along building your website, make sure that you test how it looks in all of the major browsers, so you can check that it works in the way that you want it to.

Crispin Jones is a self-confessed super geek and works for CWCS. He writes about all things that even remotely related to tech. CWCS offer managed hosting solutions with an emphasis on support.


Choosing the Right Office Space

September 9th, 2013 by Kat

Whether you are looking for office space for a new business, or have outgrown your present space there are some important considerations. You should start by checking with letting and estate agents to find out where there is available office space. Check out the area and get as much information as you can.

Whether yours is a large business, a small or medium enterprise, or a new business it is worth making a list of what you need, what is non-negotiable, and what you might like. Once you have some idea of what you actually want, searching for the right office space should be easier. Some of the most important considerations are listed below.

Demo Area
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikecogh

Location

Think carefully about where you would like your office space to be and how convenient the location is for your staff. Check out public transport in the area as not everyone drives to work.

Location is also important when it comes to your business image, rent office space in an unsafe or down at heel area and this could reflect badly on your business. Parking space is a necessity, particularly if you have a lot of clients and competitors visiting your place of business.

Research Area Amenities

What local amenities are there? Some people like to get away from the office at lunch time, or find somewhere to buy lunch in. Very often people will use their lunch break to run personal errands. Is the office near amenities such as a bank, supermarket or post office?

Journey

What sort of journey or commute will the office move involve? Staff may be unhappy if they have to spend more time travelling to and from work. The new office may not be too distant, but it could be very busy traffic wise, which is not what you or your staff may want.

Space

How much space you need will depend on what sort of business you run. If you are setting up a call centre then you may find that you need more space than if you are simply running a general office. Take measurements so that you can assess whether the office space is large enough for staff and equipment.

If you entertain clients, host virtual conferences or generally have visitors in your office then you may need boardroom and reception space. Other people will judge your business by their impressions of your business premises, so bear this in mind when you are searching for the right office.

Clients and Competitors

If staff regularly visit clients or they visit your offices, you may want a location that is convenient for this.

You may not want your office space to be too near any of your business competitors so you need to research the businesses located in that area.

Office Amenities

What extra amenities are provided for the office? You may want a managed telephone and reception area for instance. Depending on your type of business you may also require onsite security systems. Some offices now have work stations and computers already installed for business use, would you want this type of service?

Not everyone wants the same thing for their office space. Use these ideas to help you decide exactly what you want from your business office.

This post was written for Foxhall Business Centres by Crispin Jones – serviced and managed offices for Nottingham.


Just What is ‘Information Architecture’, and Why is it Important to Your Business Website?

September 7th, 2013 by Kat

In the world of IT, there are a lot of quite bewildering terms bandied about that to an outsider just seem like business buzz word gibberish. One term a lot of people question the first time they hear it is ‘information architecture’. While it may seem like a needlessly grandiose term for what it is, its meaning is actually quite simple: it describes the process of planning the structure of information on a website or in a computer system. In the most basic terms, it is kind of akin to plotting out your site map in advance, planning which categories you are going to have, what will fall under each of them, and how people will navigate around between them.

So if that is what information architecture is, why is it so important, and more crucially, how do you get started doing it for your own business website?

The Importance of Good Information Architecture

Good information architecture can make or break a user’s experience when they come to your site. No matter how much effort you have put into cultivating a lot of backlinks, keyword optimising your content and creating really good stuff to put on there, if people find navigating around the site frustrating they will leave and never come back, and their impression of your brand will be negative. Even some of the biggest companies have bad information architecture. Have you ever struggled to find the contact number on your bank’s website, or a price list on a business site? In some cases it is intentional, because they don’t really want to make certain things easy to find, but in others it is just bad planning, or a sign that a site has grown organically and things have been tacked on where they don’t logically belong.

How to Do Your Own Information Architecture

If your site is of medium complexity or higher, it is really best to get a specialist to work on your information architecture for you, as it can become quite baffling to the uninitiated and is also something that if done wrong at the start, will lead to endless problems later on as your site expands. However, if your site is simple with clearly defined areas, for example a blog, an ‘About Us’ section and a contacts page, you can probably structure it yourself. Remember that as well as determining what the top level categories should be (the things that will usually appear in a navigation bar on every page), you will probably want to come up with a parent-child type structure for your content, for example arranging your blog posts in an easy to navigate way under headings and subheadings.

Draw all this out on paper or in a drafting app, and play around with it until you have found a logical structure that has a place for everything you are likely to ever want to put on the site (even if you aren’t planning to add it yet – for example, think about where you would put an online catalogue even if that’s not something you’re going to implement until next year).

Adam Livermore is the marketing manager for leading UK web design, SEO and internet marketing consultancy Consult 3. He has a keen interest in helping clients design and structure their websites in a way that gives customers and other site visitors the best possible experience, and reflects positively on the clients’ brands.


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