For most brands, the website is the single most powerful and valuable communication tool. It’s probably the only communication channel you can have total control over. It massively influences perceptions. It has the potential to touch every customer past, present and future…. Guide your team…. Attract new talent…. Reduce your costs…. It puts your message where everyone on the planet can find it.
Yet look at ten random brand-centric websites and you’ll likely be greeted by vague messages, uninspiring images and dated design. This leaves a negative impression on the visitor and makes the offering look less valuable.
It’s clear many, if not most, organisations fail to realise the full potential of this channel. And it’s easy to understand why. Developing a measurably effective website is difficult. And the bigger the organisation, the harder it seems to be.
However it’s almost certainly worth the effort.
The quality of your web presence can, and should, reflect the quality of your offering.
The wonderful wealth of the World Wide Web
To understand the value of a website we only need to look at Google, eBay or Alibaba each of which started as web pure plays.
Your website can be your showroom, storefront, research lab, customer support centre, training academy, news station, library – all at once. It can open entire new value chains.
The quality of your web presence can, and should, reflect the quality of your offering. It expresses your attention to detail, design flair and sense of pride. It highlights your brand’s uniqueness and organisation’s greatness.
When to maximise the value of your website
After you decide your website is a worthwhile investment, a plan is crucial. The plan aligns operational, brand, and online initiatives to progress your organisation’s overarching strategy.
It’s important to start as soon as possible. Strong, relevant websites get more effective over time. Effectiveness is developed by building a website incrementally then continually adding content, monitoring usage, and tweaking the site based on learnings. It’s surprising how much value even a small change can produce.
Your website strategy should answer questions like these:
So many experts
Probably the biggest challenge in website development is finding the right team. The ideal team includes people with experience in data analysis, business and brand strategy, copywriting, coding, graphic design, audio, video, animation, infographics, UX/UI and project management.
The web development dream team will have already successfully worked together. This is important because another big challenge is agreeing on a development methodology.
Many organisations miss out on www wealth because key decision makers find digital daunting. It doesn’t have to be like that.
The first website was published in 1991. Since then no standard approach to web development has emerged. Compare that with film. Making video is another collaborative media, but one in which everyone involved has a clearly defined role. That makes the process a lot easier.
One reason for the lack of web development methodology is there are so many different scenarios. From pure digital startups, to the sprawling diversity of a multinational, and everything in-between. Along with that goes a huge range of application software and platforms.
The pace of change also makes it tough to standardise web development. We have seen long periods when new web technology and trends could obsolete fundamental www design principles every 18 months.
This has stabilized in recent years. A website developed today by an experienced practitioner can expect to live longer than one launched say 10 years ago.
Where should we start?
Many organisations miss out on www wealth because key decision makers find digital daunting. It doesn’t have to be like that. Here’s how to identify competent web practitioners:
Above all, aim to involve senior team members in key stages of the development process. Your website is simply too valuable to your brand to delegate fully. A junior team, or people who don’t understand the company vision and strategy may need guidance to create the most effective online hub.