Plans changed as firm leaders and managers kept making suggestions for new features on the site, says Shawn LaVana, marketing manager at EBI.
It started to compound so "we put it all down in an RFP" that was issued in November 2005, he
In addition to the new features, LaVana
says, there were also stipulations.The old site used FrontPage."We had to get away from that" because there was too much downtime, he
The firm also wanted to make it easier for its nationwide employees to gain information quicker, LaVana
says."The last site took a while to load and it wasn't easy to navigate."EBI
teamed up with marketing consultant Wakefly (Westborough, Massachusetts) to launch its new site (www.ebiconsulting.com) in May 2006.The new site included new features like a portal system.At the top of the homepage, registered users can log into the portal where, LaVana
says, through credentials, they are identified by the system as an employee, client, contractor, or vendor.Once identified, he
says, they are then directed to one of four portals, each geared toward visitors who are employees, clients, contractors, or vendors.
The portal provides registered users with different options.For instance, LaVana
says, a project can be posted and contractors can bid on it silently or customers can access the portal and place an order any time of the day.
Through the use of the portal, LaVana
says, the new site can be easily updated as well."Through the portal system, we're detected as the administrator and, as we look at the page, we can edit it."
Online training is another new feature that is included on EBI's
web site, LaVana
says.While the firm previously offered online training, he
says, the old web site only allowed users the option to "show interest in a course that was offered online, which would then trigger an e-mail from us."With the new site, a link on the homepage directs users to information on online training.Here, employees and clients can participate in an online training course, LaVana
The new site also includes a link to a blog on its homepage where employees provide information and clients can respond, LaVana
says."We're hoping to keep clients informed. (The blog is) a different way to communicate."
There's also a search option on the homepage of the site that wasn't available before, LaVana
says.The site allows the firm to perform targeted keyword searches as well.This means that certain words can be targeted so that, when surfers do a Google or Yahoo search, the chances increase that the firm's web site will appear, he says.
Despite the new technological tools, the new site still achieves the goal of being easy to use and navigate.The homepage includes the links "About Us," "Service Offerings," "Training Services," "Online Services," "News and Events," and "Contact Us" across the top.Hovering over each of these links with the cursor pulls up a listing of additional links to subcategories.This avoids requiring users to click through three or four different subpages to find the information they are looking for, LaVana
The cost for the new web site was about $70,000, with most of that allocated to Wakefly
The resultsSince the launch, LaVana
says, the number of hits has increased 10% to 15% when compared with the old site.Also, there is greater interest in the training classes."We've been getting more sign-ups because we've targeted keywords."
Clients have praised the site, LaVana