How to set up a website for your organisation

An Internet website can be used as a powerful tool by different departments within your organisation including marketing, sales, customer service, public relations and also provide a service for partner companies, dealers, distributors, user groups, suppliers and agents.

Information can be linked in various ways to address different audiences and different objectives. It is a tool which can be continually modified and updated in response to changing circumstances.

A website should be an integral part of the business and not an "optional extra". It should reflect the corporate style and mission.

What do you want your website to do?

To design your website the objectives of all the various departments should be considered. These can sometimes be quite different. It is possible to incorporate several objectives with careful design and clear navigation.

Objectives may include:

  • raising the profile of the company
  • obtaining new business or increasing sales to existing customers
  • reducing the cost of pre and post sales support for customers or agents
  • qualifying enquirers
  • presenting and delivering large amounts of information very cheaply
  • entering into international business
  • improving customer feedback
  • providing a platform for sponsors

Content and structure of the website

You may not need more than a couple of pages to achieve your objectives - or you may need to consider a completely integrated site including interactive pages and electronic shopping. You will want some distinctive features to make your site stand out from the competition. We can advise you on the best way to meet your objectives.

The main access point to the site is the "Home Page" which will be accessible using a memorable URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or Domain Name. This address should be promoted as naturally as the company's telephone number or postal address and appear on all promotional material and publications.

The Home Page is important because it gives the site an identity and tells visitors what features are available. It is often tempting to put eye-catching graphics on the Home Page. However, this effort can be self-defeating as there are many variations of Web browsers in use and many standards of equipment - screens, modem speeds, etc. It can be very frustrating for users if a graphic cannot be displayed properly or takes a long time to load. On the other hand the Home Page needs to be exciting - so a careful balance and an understanding of the performance issues is necessary. We can help you with design.

Links with other websites

One of the powerful features of the Web is the ability to make connections from one topic of interest to related or similar topics - which may be on other sites. You will rely to some extent on users arriving at your site from links on other sites.

However, the objective should be to keep visitors on your site so that you can continue to present your message. Unless you are specifically offering an information service, for example, you are an umbrella organisation for member companies, it is best to leave links elsewhere fairly discrete.

It is important to get links on other organisations' sites to point to your company Home Page. This takes research, and sometimes negotiation, to set up and maintain. Realcom is working on behalf of many clients we are in a good position to provide this service.

We will also register your web site with various search engines. These provide Internet users the ability to search for all sites with information about certain subjects. Registering your site with these search engines makes sure your potential clients will find you.

Interactive capability

Users can send messages to you using electronic mail or using interactive forms. These can be used in a number of ways including:

  • customer or prospect surveys - structured and free comments
  • letters pages, bulletin boards
  • competitions
  • help for customers in selecting the correct part/ product / service
  • 3d animation, virtual reality experience of your product or service
  • orders for products, subscriptions etc.

If appropriate you can also use telephony features to place calls and have your sales or help-desk people talk directly and immediately to your prospect - and presenting the information he has entered into the form and the details of the pages he has looked at to the help-desk operator so he can offer an appropriate service.

Project plan

Developing a web site is like any other project. It has to have a clearly defined objective, responsibilities need to be assigned and understood, there needs to be monitoring of achievement against objectives and it needs to have a budget.

From many years experience of planning and implementing computer and information projects we believe that the route of least risk is to break down the project into stages. This enables all parties to evaluate the current stage against targets and, if necessary, make modifications to ensure achievement of the desired objectives with minimum risk. We recommend the following stages:

Functional Specification

    • agree objectives for the Web site (- see the first paragraph) Be very clear about what you want to achieve - be bold but realistic.
    • who will be the intended audience, will it be local, national or international, is it a business site?
    • develop a specification for Web site including how the corporate image will be portrayed, what level of graphics / video is required, what interactive features should be included?
    • agree what information will be provided and how often updated, whether electronically or on paper, and who in the company will be responsible for providing material, replying to messages, fulfilling orders, etc.
    • what PR opportunities will be available from the Web site?

Design and set-up of initial phase

    • it may be preferable to select one audience group for the initial phase and introduce others in subsequent stages.
    • design and set-up of the Web site to include a company home page and associated pages with company information, testing of updating mechanisms for company information (manual or electronic)
    • decide whether product information (including prices and stocks) should be managed in real-time or updated at intervals
    • plan the publicity for the site
    • select and obtain a suitable Domain name (URL)
    • research into and set-up of links from other sites (on other organisations' Web sites) and links to useful information on other sites
    • integrate with other marketing programs

Introduce additional features

    • add interactive features like forms for ordering products or taking subscriptions, using secure transaction server
    • introduce customer / prospect surveys, which might include competitions
    • interface with company databases and IT systems

Costs of setting up and maintaining a Web site should be justified in the same way as any other project - by increased revenue or reduction in costs. Some costs may also be recouped from sponsorship or advertising on the web site.

We believe that the key to a good Web site is in defining the objectives, organising the information and links to meet those objectives and then on-going management to ensure that it keeps on delivering.

Although the Web is easy to use, there are a number of technical constraints that need to be taken into consideration. This includes being aware of the various hardware and software platforms likely to be in use by your potential audience. We will take care of this for you.

Plan for the future

You need to make arrangements for updating your website on a regular basis and when there is something new and immediate you want to  publish. Are you going to do this yourself? Do you have the resources, skills and time? Do you need to put in place a support contract with your web designer or a web editor?  See our section on Website Support for more on this.

Contact Sandra to discuss your website project.


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If you are considering a website for your business or organisation or would like professional help with an existing project please email me at or call on 01530 440000

Froggarts Cottage, School Lane, Coleorton, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 8HT