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.
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!