Web Spending Picks Up

Organizations are planning major Web site development initiatives for 2004 that will focus on improving usability and enhancing the customer experience.
Corporations are planning to pour money into the Web as a JupiterResearch (a unit of this site's corporate parent) survey found that major site development initiatives are underway for 2004.

Nearly half of the surveyed corporations have two to four major Web site implementations planned for 2004, and nearly one-quarter are prepared to spend at least $1 million on their company's Web site operations, compared to 20 percent in 2003.

Among the major site development initiatives are new home pages, new navigation, new design, new search technology, content management or other major functionality. Improving usability also remains a key challenge for 49 percent of the Web site operators that were surveyed.

''Improved usability can be delivered in many ways, from better search technology, to better information architecture and navigational design. Since 58 percent of respondents are planning a site relaunch this year, they could be investing in all of these areas. Some is technology investments, but much is investment in better design,'' commented David Schatsky, senior vice president, JupiterResearch.

Improving the consumer Web experience was cited as the second major accomplishment in 2003 for the executive IT participants in a study from The International Business Strategy Group, Inc. The consumer Web initiative is also scheduled as the second highest priority for 2004, with standardization of applications as the primary goal for the year.

Corporations are heeding the recommendation from JupiterResearch that a single executive be charged with responsibility for maximizing the overall business value of a company's site. ''The single largest budget line item for Web site operations is internal staff, averaging around 20 percent of budget for our respondents,'' said Schatsky.

Schatsky remarked that online marketing, such as search engine marketing and e-mail marketing, accounts for roughly 10 percent of the survey respondents' budgets for 2004.

This article was first published on ClickZ, a JupiterWeb site.

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