CS Chris Smith
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Basic Website Integration

by Chris Smith

Integration is, in simple terms, making your website fit in with the rest of your business. At a basic level it's about making everything consistent and not leaving any holes.

Consistent Information

Make sure that whatever information you have on your website is consistent with any offline information. Anything like details of a product or service should really be a word for word match as any anomalies could create confusion. Customers who are not sure what they're getting won't buy. Don't kid yourself that they'll phone and check; they'll find the next website.

Customer Contact

Unlike a physical business your website is accessible 24 hours a day. Therefore, if you provide a phone number on your site you should make it clear when people can use it. If it just rings and rings they may not call back. You should either put clear calling hours against it, offer an answering service or offer a callback facility. This last option has advantages for both you and your potential customer - the customer doesn't pay for the call and you don't miss out on capturing the customer's interest. Who knows if they'd still feel like calling you at 9.00am the next morning?

As well as phone contact you need to deal with form submisisons or emails in an appropriate way. Autoresponders are good. When the visitor sends you an email or submits a form they get an email just confirming that it has been received and will be dealth with. Set a realistic timescale for this, or better, set a timescale and then respond much quicker - exceed the customer's expectations.

Integrated Web Design

A good web developer will not design your website as a stand alone unit but will look at how it integrates with your business needs.