Business leaders think often about how to utilize the web to advance business plans. While web strategy is hardly a new topic, recent developments and the surprising persistence of horrible bad practices, suggest a little management engagement in a strategy makeover can produce worthwhile benefits.

Engaging design
Achieving an engaging website design is a difficult task. When is a minimalist layout appealing and when is it dull and boring? How should navigation be organized to reduce the bounce rate, increase stickiness while avoiding complexity that confuses visitors? What content creates value without overwhelming visitors?

For a quick view of what design concepts to avoid at all cost, spend a few minutes at this website: Web Pages That Suck. You never want to be the daily feature at this website.

In my experience simpler, visually pleasing layouts build reputation and interaction better than overly colorful and gaudy ones. Web content is more engaging if it’s displayed as a short paragraph with a more link for detail rather than on huge, long web pages. The investment in professional design help almost always produces a superior product.

Mobile website
Are you agonizing over the merits of offering a mobile website alongside the website oriented to larger monitors? Will the incremental development and operating costs produce enough benefits?

Website traffic, which originates from mobile devices is growing rapidly, will overtake traffic that originates from desktops and laptops in 2014 in many countries. This reality should accelerate development of a mobile website.

Since we’ve all experienced how difficult it is to navigate desktop-oriented websites on a mobile device and we’ve all seen horribly primitive mobile-oriented websites, start by thinking about sound design choices for your mobile website.

In my experience, using a content management system to drive content to a responsive website is key to containing cost and maintaining sanity.

Simple contact
How difficult is it for customers to contact you? Some companies make contact amazingly complex with long forms to complete.

Not displaying telephone number appeals to some companies because phone calls are more expensive to answer than emails. On the other hand, many customers still prefer human contact over email threads.

Many companies insist on annoying customers with too much on-hold music and complex telephone menus. Considerable advances in software to better integrate customer relations management systems, call centers and integrated voice response systems suggest that many companies should review the adequacy of their customer contact strategy. SPLICE Software is a Canadian supplier of such software.

I like a mailto button because it’s cheap to implement, simple to use and will automatically provide you with the sender’s signature block. Displaying your address and a map that illustrates your location builds customer confidence.

Relevant content
Has your website become increasingly irrelevant with declining page views? Many companies start their websites with terrific content and then lose focus as other priorities push new content creation to the back burner.

Most companies are full of great stories and content. Unfortunately the employees are often too close to see it. For some companies outsourcing content creation is a viable strategy to keep content appealing. Here’s what to consider when outsourcing.

Most people think they are great writers. Unfortunately, that’s a mostly a delusion. Here are some tips for writing great content for websites.

What do you think? What are the most important considerations to update a company’s web strategy?

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