Great Websites Require Great Team Work!
Over the last year in particular I have really become aware of the important connection between a website owner and their website. The arrival of Content Management Systems have provided website owners with the opportunity to update their websites directly and in my opinion (and most important) allowing the website owner to be an active participant in the process.
And I might add not every website owner understands or view the website from this point of view. At least not initially but make no mistake about your website – it is a part of the team and it is going to play an active role in your company’s success.
In the old days (first generation – or Web 1.0) websites were seen as electronic brochures to a large extent. You were really taking the marketing and sales brochure of your organization and placing it online. Based on past experience and also the process of which websites were primarily managed back then – creating and launching a website was a “one time” event with the website going live and then “great – I don’t have deal with that for another few years”. Further your connection to any updates to that website were thru your webmaster (usually your remote webmaster). Generally to pay a webmaster to update your website was costly – so this reinforced the one time setup process of a website…
Roll forward to Web 2.0 and websites have now become a much more active part of the operations of a company (including the marketing, sales, and operations). The basis of a glorified brochure sitting online is really become a thing of the past and content management systems are becoming the norm. Here is just a few roles websites now play:
1. First impression of your company for a prospective customer (Marketing)
2. Introduction information about your company and key stay (Marketing)
3. Descriptions of Services and Products that your company sells (Marketing)
4. Key Contact Information, Directions to your office – e-mails & phone numbers. (Marketing)
5. Inquiry forms that intice a prospect to send a sales inquiry. (Marketing)
The above items not only play important roles for prospects but also provide existing customers with reference information that may be used to extend or introduce a new relationship. Today websites participate in many operational tasks including:
6. Online Content, blogs, e-NEWS, photos and multimedia (Operational)
7. Online Shops and e-Commerce (Operational)
8. Subscriptions and registration processes (Operational)
9. Customer forms and documents (Operational)
10. And 3rd Party add-on products such as Real Estate IDX.
These items should really highlight the level of activity that a website is capable of and also reinforce the need for your website to be viewed as a key part of your team. And like any other team member the website and its results should be actively included in periodical staff meetings. For every organization to be able to agressively use their website this team member must have other active staff members involved in its use and operations.
This connect of the client to the website is one of the biggest area BeareWare is now working actively with our clients. To view your website as distant object (managed only by your web hosting or management company is generally not a good plan.) No matter how good your web company may be that – they will never understand your business like you do and more to the point they will never drive it. (YOU and YOUR COMPANY WILL ALWAYS DRIVE YOUR WEBSITE) A good website hosting and management company should be focused on client educational and operational development. The key to a successful website actively requires the website owner to play the game as well!
So take the time to consider your website’s role within your organization. Starting with the education of staff members that learn how to update and manage content. Expand your knowledge of website statistics (so you can track and measure your success) – and make these results a part of your corporate reviews and analsys. Call your website “Wilbur” if you have to – but be sure to create a culture where your website is an absolute part of your team!
Peter Beare – Webmaster
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Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the last 10 years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still a webmaster and this is “Interview with a Webmaster“.