Stories by Laura Wonnacott

Does Your Web Site Show How Good Your Team Is?

How good is your Web site? I bet I can tell without even looking at a single page on your site. A brief chat with your Web team will reveal all. Your Web site is only as good as the team who builds and manages it.

Anatomy of a Web Site

We all feel the need for speed on the Web. It seems that fast enough is never enough. In my last column, I discussed the importance of page-load performance to a company's bottom line. Many components play into the performance picture, and it's critical to understand them so you can isolate bottlenecks and optimize performance.

Easier Site Navigation Goes a Long Way

There's a lot to learn about making a profitable business out of the Internet, and much of it has to do with improving and simplifying your customer's experience.

Site Savvy

HELP WANTED: As e-commerce revolutionizes business everywhere, we're looking for that one-in-a-million CTO visionary to lead us from our stable yet antiquated business to e-business nirvana. Our company needs a CTO to provide technical leadership and strategic vision. As a member of the executive team and in hopes that the CTO will have what he/she needs to do the job, the CTO reports directly to the President/CEO. The CTO will manage all aspects of the technology architecture. The CTO will build and manage a tough, talented technology and Web development team, responsible for building our new e-business.

Site Savvy: Good Customer Service on the Web

Great Web sites require more than just great design; they also need great customer service. Reader Doug Kanter writes, "I love your articles about Web site design; however, I've run across lots of sites whose design is good, but whose response to inquiries is pathetic or nonexistent."

Make Sure to Tailor Your Efforts to the Media

How often do you land on a site, do very little, gain very little, and leave? The practice is quite common. The very nature of the Web reinforces such behavior. Most Web users are extremely impatient.

Site Savvy

Where were you on the evening of Thursday, May 11, 2000? I spent that evening checking out some of the industry's best Web sites at the Webby Awards. In case you're too immersed in designing your own site, look around at what others recognize as success on the Web and bring that experience home. Therein lies opportunity for your site, so don't let the year go by without learning from the Webby Awards or even preparing your site for a Webby nomination in 2001.

Site Savvy

What do most people hate about the Web? They hate searching for information and not finding it. I've conducted several nonscientific usability tests myself, and the majority of my little test rats are unable to perform even the simplest of tasks across multiple sites.

Site Savvy

There are loads of opportunities out there for new products, services, and partnerships that could really make a Web business hum. There are also boatloads of bombs, and one of them may have your name on it.

Site Savvy: To Create Community, Look at Platform

I never really had a lot of fun at the "community" pool. There was too much noise, too many rules, and patches of yellow water. I had little in common with screaming children and panicked mothers, and even less in common with the adults wearing pink floral swim caps. Sure, we all had the desire to swim and stay afloat, but that wasn't enough to bring us together in any sort of "community" or cooperative spirit. Such is not the case on the Web. We're all swimming around looking for something to connect us. Community forms that connection, and it is a fundamental building block to most serious sites.

Site Savvy

One way to judge your site is to look closely at other sites. Look not only at your competition, but also at other sites. This is an effective technique for determining what your site is missing -- and what you need to stay away from.

Site Savvy: Invest in Content Mgmt., XML

Despite this column's name -- Site Savvy -- I've spent little time flexing our savvy muscles. To date, I've revealed many of our mistakes. In recognizing that even worst-case experiences carry a golden foundation, we did make two savvy decisions that will play in our favor: our investments in content management and XML solutions.

Site Savvy: DoubleClick's Privacy Dilemma

If you're running a Web site, you're concerned about both providing and disclosing privacy-related information. InfoWorld's privacy policy is located at www.infoworld.com/about/privacy.html.

Site Savvy: The Four Cs

Good things come to those who wait, right? Wrong. Good things come to those who work, and without a doubt, we've been working on the new InfoWorld.com. We have yet to see all the good things, but they are on their way. We are working on several initiatives, and we're picking up the pace. This year alone, we've grown our dot-com team by 300 percent.

Web Site Design is Both Science and Art

Designing the best user interface for a Web site is not an easy recipe, and you're bound never to leave the kitchen. It requires serving up big portions of both science and art. If you're doing your job well, you're always assessing the current design of the site and preparing for changes to come. If your site is not working for any part of your intended audience or it's not doing enough for the business, you've got to keep on designing.