david niles brings outdated websites into sync with the business strategies of his clients. he helps his clients develop and use website content to position their companies as knowledge leaders, and to turn their stale websites into powerful and lively business tools. his company also helps its clients attract customers and prospects to their websites via e-mail marketing campaigns and other website and electronic marketing techniques.
a native of milwaukee, niles spent most of his career as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers in northern wisconsin before returning to the city to serve as founding editor of a milwaukee-based business publication. his work has won numerous newspaper trade group awards and honors from other groups for his journalism.
he has long been active in newspaper industry associations, and served three terms as president of the milwaukee press club. he is helping to establish the milwaukee interactive marketing association and also currently serves on the board of directors of the west suburban chamber of commerce, based in wauwatosa, wis., and is active in education and community groups.
he attended marquette university in milwaukee and graduated from uw-madison in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture (agricultural journalism).
david's 10 tips for business websites:
- business websites have five audiences: customers, prospects, current employees, prospective employees, and the media. your site should serve all five. (your competitors are probably another audience, but you don’t necessarily want to serve them.)
- do some basic research to better understand what your audiences want from your website.
- people go to websites for content. if you don’t have fresh content, it may look like you are out of business or not an industry leader.
- one of the keys to good search-engine placement is the presence of good content on your website. if you want your site to come up high on searches, you need great content.
- people read web content very differently from the way they read information in print; your content needs to reflect that difference by being more direct and concise.
- people expect websites to be easy to use; if yours is difficult to navigate or if you bury key information, you will lose those viewers.
- one of the most-used buttons on sites with introduction pages is the “skip intro” button. make your site more user-friendly by getting rid of the intro page.
- ask friends and relatives to use a search engine to try to find your company and other companies like yours. then ask them what words they used in the search, and how well your company fared in the search results.
- open your site in various browsers, including internet explorer, netscape, firefox and apple’s safari to ensure all your potential customers can easily access your site.
- consider a blog for your site, giving your company more personality.
david niles on the biggest changes in websites in recent years:
“a recent study showed that more than 90 percent of business-to-business buying decisions start with a website search and then a visit to a business website. companies are now being judged on the quality of content on their websites as well as the usability of their sites.”