Bridging your website technology gap

A website is for life, not just for Christmas! – OK, not exactly, but you get my point. The issue is that business owners treat a website as a technical project without any real focus on ‘Content’. How will you use the site as a key element of your company’s marketing processes? I regularly come across business owners frustrated by a new website that falls short of expectations. The website developer starts the project the gets to the point that they ask for relevant content. Up to that stage, nobody has really thought about it!

There is a gap between the technology and getting it to deliver benefit and value.

“Can’t you just take the content from the old site?”

To a point, yes. However, this raises a question. Has there been any real thought about how to use the new site? How will it work as an ongoing marketing tool for the business?

Furthermore, strong imagery is increasingly important in website development. Most businesses simply don’t have a library of relevant, high-quality photos. Sometimes it is possible to use photos and graphics from the growing choice of royalty-free image libraries but other times you really do need bespoke photos from your own business. Organising photography takes time – and can be an unbudgeted expense. Not an ideal scenario.

Think: process…

Naturally, agreeing on a layout and building/coding the website are key steps.  Yes, you may launch the site with slightly incomplete content, but then what? Many (most?) web design companies take a ‘project’ approach to building sites. Build the site then move on to the next job. The inevitable job of making updates and minor changes to existing sites is an irritation. This approach can be slow and costly for the site owner.

We regularly talk to people who are frustrated with a website that is 6-12 months old. They want to update and make changes but support can be patchy, costly – or both! As a result of cost and/or poor support, too often a site is left and not developed/kept up to date. There is also a bigger issue. While most ‘website companies’ are technically capable and have the skills to design and build site, they are not marketers. They are often less willing/able to advise on business marketing and how a website can help deliver real marketing benefit to drive the business forward. This isn’t an issue in a big company. they will have a marketing team who develop and manage the marketing plan, working with the technical specialists as necessary. Smaller businesses normally don’t have this luxury.

Things need a joined-up process.

An alternative approach

Most SME businesses don’t have dedicated marketing resources. What would be ideal is to access support which combines technical capability with marketing expertise. Consequently, you can develop an effective marketing approach and ensure that the website integrates with other marketing activities to deliver a joined-up marketing process focussed on growing your business. The design and build of a website are important steps. However, the site must deliver real value and benefit to your business over several years. Building and using a site should be integrated steps, joined-up with a clear plan to drive the business. This alternative approach can deliver a site where day to day updates are handled in-house (at little or no cost!) while support is on hand for the more technical developments which are required every now and again.

With this strategy, the website becomes a process, not an event. As a result, the joined-up approach creates a dynamic marketing communication platform supported by technical know-how that a business can use and evolve to deliver a current and effective ‘shop window’ that stays up to date and of which you can be proud!

BSA delivers this joined-up approach. Call me for a chat and ask our clients!

Bridging the technology gap

SME business owners have a problem…

Technology is essential to pretty much every business these days…but there is so much of it.

  • Computers
  • Email
  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Data Storage
  • Mobile Access
  • Remote Access
  • Communications…

The list goes on, but rather than being able to focus on using one specific technology a lot, to work effectively, most businesses need bits of many different technologies. Furthermore, business owners should focus on their business, they can’t normally be technical specialists as well.

I believe the ideal business technology is effectively invisible. It does its job so well that you just don’t notice it. You can concentrate on your business. Herein lies the problem. Accessing different technologies normally means dealing with a range of suppliers who (too often) don’t talk to one another. Your business should use technology as an integrated business-focussed resource but to make it works seamlessly (and invisibly) you need effective support. This support is typically fragmented across a range of ‘expert’ suppliers each of whom is competing for your attention. they can be too focussed on their own needs.

There is a second issue with accessing specialist skills, particularly in the marketing arena, and that is that there are a lot of people offering “Expertise“. But not all are as expert as you might hope. Finding the right expert to fit your needs and expectations can be challenging.

The BSA Philosophy

We understand and appreciate the issue. Both myself and my fellow director, David, have been running and supporting SME businesses for many years, so we have practical experience! Furthermore, we have grown up with the technologies that are now central to running a successful business. These two experience sets work together allowing us to be ideally placed to support SMEs … and bridge the technology gap.

Unlike most technology experts, we start with business objectives. From here we establish how best technology can be used to support and meet these. Only then do we look to the “experts” to assist in the situation. At this point, we have three great advantages:

  1. We understand the business, and what technology is appropriate to move it forward
  2. We have built an effective working knowledge of a wide range of technologies and their application to real-world business.
  3. Because we are dealing with a wide range of technologies on a regular basis, we have the right contacts to call on high-end specialists when required. We can speak the technology language, so can communicate the issues and manage solutions effectively.

Benefits in the Real World

That’s the theory, but how does this philosophy play out in the real world?

To answer this, I go back to the list at the top of the post. Over the next few months, we are going to work through this list and look at some individual business issues, discussing how our philosophy delivers real value in each area.

Taking each subject in turn (Websites, Marketing Content, Social Media, Hosting, Email etc) we will look at how to effectively bridge the technology gap and deliver real world business benefits.

With each subject, we will be publishing a podcast on Alongside the podcasts, there will also be blog posts exploring the issues. To be sure you don’t miss any of  this content, you can either subscribe to our podcast here, or better still, sign up to our email here.

If you can’t wait, and would like to talk to us further right now, we are always happy to chat.