In today’s business world, Web sites had better be interactive
If you’re a business owner and all your Web site does is give out information, then you’re doing it wrong, and you could ultimately pay a big price for your mistake.
That’s the opinion of Daniel Hickey, founder, president and chief executive officer of Hickey Marketing Group LLC in Redlands.
In today’s world, Web sites have to be interactive if they’re going to attract customers, from the largest Fortune 500 companies down to the smallest “mom and pop” operations, Hickey said.
“This is something that’s been available to big businesses for years, but it’s only been available to small businesses at a reasonable price in recent years,” said Hickey, who appeared Sunday on IE Biz Roundtable, the weekly talk show on KTIE-590 in San Bernardino hosted by Lou Desmond.
“But it’s how you have to use a Web site if you want to succeed today. Interactivity is the key.”
That interactivity is possible because of content management systems, or CMS, which allows any website to be converted into a two-way means of communication, Hickey said.
Introduced in the late 1990s, content management Systems are what allow people to post comments on Web sites, or alert people via social networking – usually Twitter or Facebook – of something they’ve found online that they believe is worth sharing.
“It used to be that only big companies could afford CMS, but it’s a lot more affordable now and small businesses are able to use it,” Hickey said. “What it does is create a dialogue with customers, or whoever is on the Web site.
“It’s a big business practice that small businesses can take advantage of.”
Best Buy, the electronics mega-store chain, has been utilizing the practice of getting their customers to post product reviews on the company Web site and responding to them promptly.
All businesses should follow that model, Hickey said.
“We tell all of our clients to leave comments on their Web site for a long time, even the negative ones, that is as long as you are responding to the issue honestly and proactively” Hickey said. “First, it shows that you’re trying to fix the problem, if there is one, and it creates a dialogue with your customers which gives your brand a human element which many lack.”
Hickey also had advice for anyone looking for a reputable Web designer: only hire one that ensures clients own their own domains (which eliminates future domain highjacking), and make sure that the company makes adjustments for the display of Web sites on mobile devices for the best user experience possible.
“If you see a Web site that changes on the iPad or iPhone, that means it’s probably a good site,” Hickey said.