This week, JupiterResearch shared the following facts with anybody on their Internet Planet conference list:

  • 58% of Web sites are planning a relaunch this year.
  • 49% of Web site managers say usability is their top challenge in 2004.
  • 41% of Web sites will be upgrading or deploying a new commerce platform for their site this year.

(Source: Jupiter Research/ERI Executive Survey, 10/03)

If you are the owner or web manager of one of those web sites about to be relaunched, consider yourself lucky because you are at the right point of time to initiate not a mere visual redesign but to improve your web site from a total business objective point of view. Now is the time to ask oneself what is the purpose of the site, how is the site found, how is the site navigated, and how one reaches the site’s action pages, whether a contact form for service request or online purchase or newsletter subscription.

Integrating all aspects of web site optimization

Web usability cannot be separated from search engine optimization nor can search engine optimization be separated from web usability — both are equally important aspects of web site optimization.

If no traffic comes to your newly redesigned, usable site, all the usability investment you have made would be a waste. The opposite is true too — if you receive a lot of search engine traffic but upon landing on the web site, the visitors are confused about the purpose of the site, its navigation and information architecture, the purpose of your search engine marketing efforts would be lost.

The web is now a mature medium and a solid marketing and communications channel for any organization. The time has come to start thinking about and performing web site optimization services in an integrated approach, by complementing (and not separating) the virtues of usability analysis, web analytics, and search engine optimization.