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Ten Tips for Getting Net Results

March 1, 1996
Related Topics: Internet, Featured Article
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Here are some tips to help you get results on the 'Net:

  1. Provide content.
    Users browse a corporate site looking for information. If they're considering an organization for employment-or simply want to know more about it-then they want to find information about the company's philosophy, its mission and goals, what kinds of benefits it offers and what employment opportunities exist.
  2. Keep it organized.
    There's nothing worse than trying to navigate a site that has information and data poorly organized. The idea isn't to force a user to browse the entire site, it's to provide them with the data they need as quickly as possible. If you're putting together a particularly large site, consider setting up a table of contents page with hypertext links or create a search engine.
  3. Stay current with technology.
    The capabilities of the Web are growing at break-neck speed. Today's state-of-the-art site is tomorrow's hopelessly outdated homepage. Be aware of what other top sites are doing. And be sure to use the latest HTML features. Make sure they work with the majority of those browsing the site and provide a less spectacular display for those who don't have the viewing capability built into their browser.
  4. Provide needed tools or offer links.
    If you're going to post positions online, make sure the applicants can find your e-mail address. Better yet, provide an online resume form that routes the data into your department's e-mail or database. If you want to provide a video clip or an audio message, make sure the necessary viewers or players are available for download from your site, or provide direct hypertext links to sites where they're available.
  5. Make it attractive.
    Like it or not, the Web is supposed to be hip and cool. Although a site doesn't have to look like a return to the psychedelic '60s or a scene from an MTV video, colors and graphics do count. Make the site look corporate, but lively.
  6. Avoid overly elaborate graphics.
    Yes, graphics are what makes the Web so appealing. But waiting three or four minutes for an image to load is downright annoying. Make sure a logo or graphic element loads within 30 to 60 seconds at 14.4k bps and provide text to view while the image is loading. If it's necessary to offer a large graphic image, allow the user the choice whether or not to view it: provide a thumbnail or offer a text only option.
  7. Update often.
    Old job listings and outdated company information does more harm than good. A site that isn't maintained looks like a poorly maintained house for sale: it's unattractive and unlikely to garner much interest. Your credibility rides on the data that appears on your site.
  8. Create a feedback form.
    Sometimes overlooked, a feedback form is a valuable way to glean information about how users perceive the site, and it's a way to receive suggestions and ideas for improving it.
  9. Provide necessary information.
    It's amazing how many sites promote a company's products and even offer job listings but don't include a telephone number or physical mailing address. An e-mail address is an excellent start, but it definitely shouldn't be the only way for someone on the Web to contact your organization.
  10. Get registered and indexed.
    Domain names-the address you use to identify yourself to those using the Web-should be intuitive (such as www. microsoft.com). If the site resides on your own company's server, the domain name should be that of your own firm. If you're leasing space on another server, it might be necessary to provide a pointer from the host service to your company. Either way, you need to register your domain name with the Internet Registration Service (mailserv@rs. internic.net), which currently offers the service for free. Finally, let the Web's well-used search tools-Yahoo!, Lycos, WebCrawler and others-know you're out there. That's how Web surfers find a new site.

Personnel Journal, March 1996, Vol. 75, No. 3, p. 28.

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