I've started to look at things differently, but I am still a man

In the next few weeks I become a Dad. So, over the last few months I have spent a lot of time reading about what my wife can and can’t eat or drink, buggies that cost the same as a car, sleeping routines, leaving your baby in the garden with the foxes and a lot more – what did people do before the internet?

You may think that, true to form, I am now going to go on a rant about something -  paternity and maternity leave as a business owner, perhaps? But no, I actually want to share with you how impressed I am with how well the websites are put together for expecting parents and that if you are looking at restructuring your own site or adding a community element, I recommend these as a great place to start.

One of the best examples I have seen is http://www.babycentre.co.uk/ - but there are others; (http://www.babyworld.co.uk , for example). Babycentre.co.uk has been a fountain of easily accessible, relevant and searchable information.

The navigation allows you to very quickly identify where you are in the gestation period (Buying cycle) -  from getting pregnant (pre-sales) to 3 year old child (client retention). (I never thought I would use the words ‘gestation period’ in a blog!)

So the site has identified that a ‘client’ could stay with them for around 4 years. The site also treats you differently with regards to technical terms depending how far down the process you are.

If you are not registered to the site the navigation allows you to easily know where you are. These principles can easily be applied if you have taken the time to understand the processes and stages your clients have to go through and at what point your services are applicable.
Once you are registered you are regularly updated on what should be happening, commentaries on news items that may affect you e.g. Swine Flu / VAT rate changes.

And, of course, what any modern website must have, a community area. One very cool element on the site is where members write a journal. Imagine how powerful it would be if you had a client detailing the journey they are on with you on a project; the successes and challenges you are helping them face.

In summary, I want you to forget that these are baby sites. What they give you are a reason to come back time and time again, they quickly build trust and offer you relevant and timely information, and the emails you receive are always targeted to where you are in the cycle. The sites are very easy to navigate and they use no made-up acronyms or jargon. They are targeted as they know who their audiences are and have obviously spent the time to understand them.