How to Help
Websites are the electronic front door to your library; as such they deserve the same planning and care that your library receives. Websites are a form of marketing and a way of reaching otherwise unserved customers. A library website can be a vital information resource for your community; capitalize on the opportunity. Bear in mind that a web page is not a website. Displaying the depth of information and resources available at the library requires more than a single page.
The Office of Library and Information Services Local Library Development Team and Web Publishing Team have developed the following basic guidelines for the content and design of public library websites. These guidelines are designed to support libraries in designing are great website. These refer directly to information and resources that should be available through a library’s website.
Library Home Page
- Library name, location and phone
- Library hours
- Link to branch information
- Link to catalog
- Links to services, programs, calendar, and about the library
- Link to site map
- News and events
- Link to “support the library”, Friends group, or a way to get involved as a library supporter
About the Library
- Contact information: name, address, phone number, fax number of the library
- Branch locations (if any) and contact information for the branches
- Library hours
- Key personnel and contact numbers and/or e-mail addresses
- Directions to the library
- Board of Trustees members
- Board of Trustees meeting dates/agenda
- Friends group officers, activities, and membership application
- Library mission statement
- Library policies (especially for library cards, loan periods, use of the meeting room, computer use, unattended children)
- Contact Us link and/or virtual suggestion box
- Annual report
- Long-range plan
- History of the library
- Library newsletter (if any)
- Trustee by-laws
- Trustee meeting minutes
- Volunteer information
- Images of the library
Programs and Services
- Children’s services
- YA/Teen services
- Literacy services and programs
- Disability services
- Classes/workshops (if offered)
- Museum and park passes
- Calendar of events
- New books listing
- Staff recommendations listing
- Parents section
- Teachers section
- Seniors section
Reference and Research Information
- Link to library catalog
- Link to OSL home page
- Electronic resources
- Reference links
- Virtual reference services (email/IM)
- Special collections
- Search engines and directories
- Local history page
- Genealogy page
- Connections to other libraries
- Statewide Reference Resource Center
- Instant Answers
- Ask a Librarian
- Design by the 10 second rule: a visitor should be able to find a link to your catalog, your locations, your programs, your resources, or your key personnel in less than 10 seconds from any page on your site
- Include the library name on every page (the name should be prominently displayed as a header and included in the <title> tag on the page)
- Include library address, phone, and “contact us” link on every page (possibly as footer if not in header)
- Provide clear and consistent navigation throughout the site; include a link to the library homepage on every page
- Include a site map, and provide a link to it on every page
- Avoid library jargon, e.g., provide a link to the library catalog
- Make sure pages load quickly — limit the use of images and text graphics; compress file sizes for all images
- Avoid flashing objects and multi-colored text that distract a visitor’s attention
- Avoid pages longer than 2 screens; users will not scroll down to find information
- Make sure the page is accessible to users with disabilities
- Libraries meet ADA requirements; websites should have a comparable level of accessibility as specified in the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and Federal Section 508 Standards for Electronic and Information Technology
- Check your pages in multiple browsers to be sure they render correctly, e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape (Mozilla), Firefox, Opera, even on a Mac (Safari)
- Librarians are experts at organizing information; library websites should reflect this!
A big strategic issue for online retailers is whether to perform order fulfillment activities internally or to outsource them. Building central warehouses, stocking them with adequate inventories, and developing systems to pick , pack and ship individual orders requires substantial start-up capital but may result in lower overall unit costs than would paying the fees of order fulfillment specialists who make a business of providing warehouse space, stocking inventories, and shipping orders for online retailers.
Outsourcing is likely to be economical unless an ecommerce business has the high unit volume and the capital to invest in its own order fulfillment capabilities. Overstock.com, an online superstore consisting of thousands items has partnerships with many leading brand-name companies and uses outsiders to stock and ship those products.
Dealing with all the risks and opportunities of an emerging and ever changing online industry is one of the most challenging business strategy problems. To be successful in an emerging online industry companies usually have to pursue one or more of the following tactical avenues.
- Try to win the early race for industry leadership with risk-taking entrepreneurship and bold, creative strategy. A few good examples are Google, Apple regardless how many other companies have tried to compete with them they have not succeeded. Broad or focused differentiation strategies keyed to technological or product superiority typically offer the best chance for early competitive advantage.
- Push to perfect the technology aspects, to improve products or service quality, and to develop additional attractive performance features. For instance adding new functionality features to your website such as live chat, 24-hours support phone etc., can tremendously help your chances in staying competitive.
- As Web 2.0 technological uncertainty clears and a dominant technology emerges, adopt bearer on expertise and to pioneer the dominant product design, businesses have to beware of betting too heavily on their own preferred technological approach or product design — especially when there are many competing technologies, research and development is costly, and technological developments can quickly move in a surprising new directions.
- Form strategic alliances with key influencers in your industry to gain access to specialized skills, technological capabilities, and critical materials or components.
- Acquire or form alliances with businesses that have related or complementary technological expertise so as to outcompete rivals on the basis of technological superiority. If you are a PR marking company try reaching out to high-tech web development agencies and collaborate or share resources with current clients.
Try to capture any first-mover advantages associated with early commitments to promising technologies, allying with most capable influencers, expanding product/service selection, improving styling, capturing experience curve effects, and getting well positioned in new distribution channels. Facebook , Twitter are the perfect examples of first mover advantage. Facebook not only swept MySpace out of its own business model but it created something what we now call “social media”. Facebook may have been the second or third after MySpace or Zynga but they made it into a first mover advantage.
According to statistics, 90% of homebuyers use the internet during some point of their home search for a new home. This isn’t exactly shocking given how much a part of our lives the internet has come and how heavily we rely on it for everything from research to shopping for clothing. However, you may find it interesting to see what potential real estate buyers and sellers look for when it comes time to choose a real estate agency in terms of their agency’s website.
- Ease of navigation – Buyers and sellers look for real estate websites that are easy to maneuver through. It’s important that information is organized and accessible. Real estate browsers are often turned off by cluttered sites with too much text.
- Professional photography – Potential buyers and sellers like to see listings with professional photography. Multiple angles and great lighting often catch a buyer’s eye.
- Important Additional Info – Those searching for a new real estate property often look for additional information pertaining to the community, local schools, local amenities, etc.
- Housing market stats – Prospective buyers and sellers like to see stats from the previous year’s market on real estate websites. Providing statistics shows that a real estate firm remains current on local real estate patterns and trends.
- Virtual tours – Many internet real estate browsers like to see virtual or video tours of properties. Through this channel potential buyers are able to see a property in a unique way without having to attend an open house. Potential sellers like to know that their properties will be displayed online in a dynamic and engaging way.
Clearly, while it takes more than a nice web presence for a real estate firm to be successful, it’s important to choose a web design agency that takes its website and online listings seriously—. Contact us today to discuss your real estate website.
We discussed the real estate industry’s gradual shift to electronic status earlier, and it seems this is further proof of this interesting evolution.
A number of new sites and applications have been developed specifically for real estate buyers and homeowners.
Here are a few of the most interesting:
- Nextdoor Social Network – A private, free social network that allows locals to connect with one another. Nextdoor allows neighbors to meet one another without having to go door to door or waiting to bump in to one another. Once a Nextdoor member, individuals in a specific neighborhood can complete an individual profile for themselves as well as their family members. Nextdoor takes privacy quite seriously and only adds neighborhoods once 9 neighbors sign up within 21 days. Each member must verify their address with a credit card by phone as well.
- Next4Less.com – This social marketing platform provides homeowners with a broad variety of services related to your home. You can invite preferred service providers to join the site as well. Members have access to local and nationwide product discounts that can be shared with friends.
- Homezada.com – This online system provides an easy way for homeowners to maintain a current catalog of the contents of their homes for insurance purposes. Additionally, Homezada.com provides those interested in remodeling or decorating with a way to easily keep track of budgets and find great deals.
What do you think of these websites? Do you think any or all of them would be useful to you now or after you purchase new real estate?
Just as successful brick and mortar retailers employ merchandising strategies to keep their stores fresh and interesting to shoppers online retailers must be good web merchandisers, exerting ongoing efforts to add innovative site features and capabilities , enhance the look and feel of their sites, heighten viewer interest with audio and live video, and have fresh product offerings and special promotions.. Websites need to be easy to read and interesting, with lots of eye appeal. Website features that are distinctive, engaging and entertaining add value to the experience of spending time at the site and are thus strong competitive assets. For example amazon has gone to great lengths of to foster a strong sense of community among users and visitors as par of its strategy to set itself apart from competitors. Moreover, websites have to be clearly marketed. Unless, visitors hear about the site. like what they see on their first visit, and are intrigued enough to return again and again, a pure dot-com company will not generate traffic and revenues necessary to its survival.
If you are dentist and have a dental office that you want to promote, then it’s essential that you have a website. Most dentists are not aware of all the benefits they can get from having web presence.
When was the last time your patients used a yellow pages? Today’s people are using yellow pages less than ever and that usage will only decrease with time. When people start looking for a dentist, that search starts online or smartphone and usually with Google or Bing. According to online statistics, over 80% of all website traffic comes via search engines.
What does this mean for your dental practice? You must have a website so that your potential patients can get instant information and a visual representation of your dental practice.
The Internet never sleeps, and neither do many people. Having a compelling website, you’ll be able to share your business and contact information with patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How does it help your office
Being on the Web nowadays, with an engaging and vibrant website also increases your business credibility. Consider the alternative: What would happen if a potential patient searched for your office on the Web and found nothing or worse another dental office nearby? You just missed out on a potential lead.
With a website, your practice can also make appointments and take phone call during business hours. There is often no need to hire admin staff.
A website may also help improve patient relations and make it easy for you to provide a high level of information(e.g dental hygiene tips) and build long-lasting relationships with your patients. Through your website, you can give potential patients all the information about your specialties that will enable them to make an informed decision. You may even want to create feedback form on your website so that you can receive and answer patient questions.
Furthermore, having a website means your office can increase patient base and expand reach to a new audience to grow your business and generate greater profits.
Below is an example of a dental office website design:
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