Download Audio: 5 Great Ideas Possible With A Website
It is unfortunate to realise that, when most people think of having a website, they think in narrow terms. They have no idea what can be achieved with a website, and therefore restrict themselves to the idea, of having a website that simply presents information to website visitors.
In truth there is so much more that can be achieve with a website for your business or organisation: the only limit being your imagination. If there is a concept you can imagine taking place in daily operations at your business or organisation, the idea can most probably be successfully incorporated into a website.
In this blog post, I look at some of the vast possibilities available to your business or organisation through a website. Specifically, I look at 5 great ideas that are possible with a website.
The concept of a Content Management System, CMS is a very interesting one. With a website built on a CMS, a lot is possible with little effort and cost. The CMS provides the fundamental functionality of the website, such as user and content management but is at the same time, a framework for expanding the website functionality.
The power of a CMS comes from its ability to be extended by the addition of the desired functionality to a website, in a modular fashion. Most popular CMS have a community of developers, that develop the extensions to that particular CMS, which are available both freely and commercially. This means that there are a lot of website extensions already out there, that your website could use.
Thanks to the power of Content Management Systems, a website can easily be extended to perform almost any functionality imaginable. This can be achieved through existing website extensions, or custom built ones for unique applications. The following are a list of some of the features you may consider integrating into your business or organisation’s website.
Electronic commerce has seen rapid developments in recent times, allowing us to shop online. With e-commerce functionality added to your website, site visitors can browse goods and services, and pay for them electronically, by means of debit and credit cards, or other means, such as mobile payment methods.
The transactions on an e-commerce website are made possible by means of a payment gateway, which is a service often provided by a third party company, in conjunction with a bank.
An e-commerce enabled website, would allow your business or organisation to offer the ultimate virtual shopping experience, that provides your customers with convenience. Even if payment is not conducted on the site, the same e-commerce platform can be used to process orders, that customers can later pay for either on delivery or by bank transfer of funds.
If your business or organisation is involved in taking bookings, such as may be done at a travel agency, or reservations in the case of a lodge, your website my offer the ideal electronic solution to facilitate the process.
Taking bookings and reservations online is highly convenient, as it reduces the work that has to be done by your reservation desk. It also means that you can take reservations and bookings at any time. Be it day or night.
The booking and reservation system can be set up to incorporate an e-commerce component, in which case, you can accept reservation and booking payments online. This is convenience for both you and your customers.
Have you ever had an event and did not know the best way to book attendance? Your website can take on this role. Once you set up the booking system on your website, people can book for an event in real time, and even pay online if such a functionality is provided on the website.
Setting up event booking online, exposes your event to a wider audience, and offers potential attendees, the opportunity to book at their own convenience.
You can also place your business’ or organisation’s, or even personal calendar online through your website. The idea here is to make your calendar publicly accessible, so that people may have your schedule at their fingertips.
You may go even a step further with the online calendar, by making it possible for people to schedule appointments with you via your website. This is convenient because, the online calendar will automatically show people when you are either available or occupied.
Most of us are familiar with Facebook and similar websites, and the online communities hosted on these platforms. In some cases you may want to have your own privately hosted online community, that may be for a group, such as a school or a church, or your business or organisation itself.
It is possible to extend your website to host and manage an online community, that is social in all aspects, allowing for people to share their experiences, and part of their lives.
There are certain advantages to running your own online community. For one thing: you will have ultimate control about how the community is ran, without taking guidelines from some giant social media company. This provides a deep sense of freedom and autonomy.
Communication is a vital part of any business or organisation, and your website can be set up to be the hub of that communication process. The more channels you get available to your customers to communicate, the better will be your communications with them.
Your website can be set up to provide support, by making use of messaging that works in conjunction with email. A chat functionality can also be provided for when you or your staff and the customer are online at the same time.
Forums are also a great communication tool, that can be hosted on your website. In a forum set up, topics can be initiated for which there is a query, and you or your staff can respond to these topics, with all conversation threads being kept in one convenient place. You can also use a forum to enlist the support of the general public, in resolving common issues.
These are just a few of the common ideas you could implement on your website, to make it more functional. Please note that the worst mistake you can make, is to add a feature just for the sake of it. Any additional feature has to serve a clear purpose, and add value.
Instead, I encourage you to adapt from within your business or organisation. Look at your processes and procedures, and see which ones can fit, if applied as a functionality on your website. The end result of this introspective process, is that you will have a feature-rich and active website, that makes your life a little exciting and easier.
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