Harmonized Indicators WordPress site

The IFI Partnership Harmonized Indicators site was created as a means for publishing these indicators as well as serving as a entry point for partners to collaborate and share information with their stakeholders and between themselves. WPA built the site entirely in WordPress using additional plug-ins to enhance its functionality. See the site at http://indicators.ifipartnership.org

Let’s Work Partnership WordPress site

We are please to announce the launch of the letswork.org site which was built using WordPress.  The site serves as the main information platform for a partnership of leading international development organizations. Read more

Native Apps vs. Mobile-Enabled Web Sites

When is it a good idea to create a mobile version of your Web site instead of a native app? A mobile enabled site resizes the content, modifies the navigation and layout so that it can be best viewed on a mobile device. A native app is downloadable software that provides a service on a specific mobile device. A good mobile strategy provides the right answers, and in many cases you’ll need both.

See the full article at My Mobilewalla (you may have to register)

Web governance?

Has anyone thought seriously about Web governance? Really, this is not something at the top of a Webmaster’s mind. Content freshness, new content, dead links, new design, etc. That’s what we worry about on a daily basis. However, a successful site is one that is planned and resourced like any other IT or communication project.

Many seem to forget that when they create a site. Information architecture, standard look and feel, access rights, workflow, content reviews, and other WCM issues is what they focus on. I used to think the same way… However, a good governance will ensure that the right people make the right decision about the WCM system. Business objectives need to drive the Web site. And business objectives come from all parts of a company, not just sales and marketing. That’s why setting up a governing body is critical to the success of a site. The Web team and content providers do their work, but the strategy of the site is developed by the governing body.

Without a Web strategy?

Would you run your business without a strategy, or at least a set of goals everyone can rally around? Obviously, the level of planning depends on many factors, but all companies need a point of reference that will drive their efforts in the right direction (or at least the one chosen). Assuming you answered “no” to the question above, you’re on your way to understanding the need for a Web strategy. You need a yearly (or more often if necessary) review of your Web site goals. From there, you can define the end-products you will need to provide for the site. This exercise will help determine whether your site is still in line with your company’s business objectives, and ensure that your Web resources will be used to support the business.

On Information architecture, aka site map

As much as people generally agree that content is king, few realize that the way this content is organized makes or breaks a site. Fresh and relevant content, free of errors cannot be viewed unless it is easily found. Although many site visitors depend on search to get to where they want to, a good site navigation will guide your visitors and help make their visit fruitful. The process one needs to go through to obtain the optimum content structure is too long to explain for this blog. Suffice it to say that it is worth spending some time analyzing what your users needs. Combine that with what you’d like to showcase, and your site information architecture will emerge.

Strategy before anything

It seems that every Web developer or Web designer will talk about ad nauseum about the importance of Web usability. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that a site that does not adhere to basic usability principles will not be offering its full potential ROI; however, the conversation should be focused on Web strategy. I have a few posting son this blog about the importance of a solid Web strategy. And, I’m not referring to a Web work program, which is actually derived after a strategy is put together. The plan can only be sketched once a set of common goals (which form the strategy) is agreed upon. This is true no matter how big or small is the site, whether informational or e-commerce.

A hosted WCM?

ASPs died prematurely following the dot com bust of 2000. The idea of getting your application hosted by a professional hosting company was ahead of its time. However, it’s back, and with a vengeance. There is a resurgence of web hosted services, and I believe that WCM is not going to be left aside this time. The best WCMs are already Web-based, and so, it’s not a difficult to see that getting your WCM as a hosted service is a good idea. Now, it’s not for everyone, but if you have a manageable site (a few thousand pages), a few content providers (a dozen or so), and most importantly you do not want to be bothered with having your own Web servers, you are a candidate for a hosted service. In the next few days, I’ll elaborate on this re-emerging topic. Watch this space.

Keep it simple

When companies want to build their Web presence, or re-design their site, they tend to think big. In most cases, thinking big is a good idea. However, on the Web, that’s usually not the right way to go. If you take on too much, and your site is too large for your team to maintain, you will be wasting resources in producing the site in the first place. In my many years of managing Web sites, I think that this is the number one problem I’ve encountered. People do not realize that you’re not done when the site is launched. Building a Web site is not putting most of your resources on building site, but rather you should be focusing your efforts on maintenance and future enhancements. That’s better planning.

What stats can’t tell you

Good traffic stats are truly hard to get. Sure, there are many stats packages available, but my biggest problem is the misconception of what information traffic stats can provide you. I will not disagree that measuring the number of visits, visitors, and page views can provide site managers with a basic view of their site usage. However, when people try to look at path analysis (how do visitors go from point a to b), average time on the site, top exit pages, top entry pages, I think that we need to take these with a grain of salt. Afterall, what you are missing here is the motive. You are not there with the user to look at their behavior. I think that these analyses are interesting, and can provide some insight, but not the true picture of what is happening in your site. If your Web presence is essential to your business goal, you will have to rely on good old user tests to see what’s working and what’s not; and that’s expensive!