December 2003 Newsletter

Your Overall Internet Objectives

**** The 4specs Perspective

What are your overall Internet objectives? Every month I look at several thousand construction-product websites. From my perspective few construction product websites demonstrate that they have a clear objective to sell more products. The primary objective of the website appears to be a pretty website similar to a glossy brochure rather than a design tool, similar to a 3-ring binder.

We propose two primary objectives for your Internet activities:

1. Sell more products

2. Reduce overhead and administrative costs

Included in the reducing costs category could be three other activities:

Our perspective is that most construction-product websites are way too complex to best achieve our proposed objectives. The complexity of the website is frequently not apparent as it is hidden in the code visible behind the page or in the server operations. This complexity also means the web design consultant must make all the changes and the company cannot make day-to-day updates and revisions without contacting the designer and paying them for every change.

While fancy websites may be appropriate for young consumers wanting to be wowed, most construction professionals want to get your product information and get on with their job. We advocate eliminating all of the design toys and returning to basic HTML to present your information. One web designer complained to me that all he could use were the web components available in 1997 - images, tables and fonts. I told him he was right.

We advocate not using flash, javascript, drop-down boxes, mouse overs (when the image changes when the mouse cursor passes over the image) and database-driven websites. Most web designers will scream about these limitations, but I think they will better help you achieve the goals we propose.

When completed, the web designer should provide you with an easy-to-maintain website and with the tools (probably FrontPage or DreamWeaver) needed to make day-to-day changes to your new website. They should instruct you how to make changes in the website and to be available for major changes.

This newsletter is part of the talk I am giving at the CSI Convention in Chicago in April 2004. Please plan to attend if you will be there. For an overview of my talk, please visit: Outline of CSI Talk


Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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