A while ago, I asked are you proud of your website? I was getting at the idea that too often, a company website is something that gets built and launched then (perhaps after a flurry of initial activity) the site gets left behind as the business moves on. And there it stays until after a year or two (or 3, or 4!), business focus comes back to the (now very out of date) website so a new site is commissioned, built and launched – and the cycle starts again.
In the window of the website launch and the following flurry of activity, it is quite likely that you are proud of your website. At least I hope so!
How is friendship different?
I realised that talking about pride wasn’t exactly getting to the point I was aiming for. It’s not just about pride in your website when it is shiny and new. The key is to still be proud of your website when it is 2 years (or more) old.
I suggest that to stay proud of your website, it will need to stay up to date with your business. Your site will need to evolve. You don’t need a new website every few years. Rather, you need a site that works as an integral part of your business. You need to be friends with your website!
Like it or not, it is where potential customers normally go to find out more about what you do so it must reflect your business as it is now. If you are friends with your website, you will engage with it – and want to engage on an ongoing basis to keep it up to date. You may or may not do everything yourself but you will have processes that keep your business and your website in sync.
If not, you are more likely to leave it alone – with the inevitable consequences. Stagnation.
Barriers to friendship
Being outside your comfort zone
In my experience, most people are comfortable updating their website to a certain point but as soon as they want to do something that is outside their comfort zone, they get stuck.
Modern websites are increasingly complex. They are built around programmatic web pages and data-driven content. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes it easier to build sophisticated sites relatively quickly and to include content management as part of the package. On the other hand, making sophistication more accessible, increases the likelihood of the 3 little words
…can we just?…
The answer is almost always Yes!. However, delivering on this gets technical and normally outside your comfort zone. This may be even if it is actually only a small and simple job – if you know what to do!
Being outside your comfort zone with your website is a route to lack for friendship!
The wrong website partner
One of the main reasons I see business owners falling-out with their website is that they see a website as a design/technical challenge rather than a business challenge.
As a result, they hand the job to someone who may understand the design/technical demands but not necessarily the business objectives. Advice is often technically based, addressing a fix to a technical problem, rather than being business focused. A technical fix may be perfectly possible but will it really address the underlying business need?
This lack of alignment with the true needs of the business can result in a lack of confidence in the advice on offer.
What’s the answer?
Website development and support should be based on advice that is ‘Business Practical’. Where you can make a decision within your comfort zone. It shouldn’t be ‘techy isolated’ where there is too much focus on technicality. Your business needs should take priority.
‘Business Practical’ should mean advice that relates to your business needs. You have the opportunity to discuss technical pros and cons objectively within a business rather than
If you aren’t comfortable that you can be friends with your website for the long term, stop! Look elsewhere for help to build and manage it.