Making A Website Central To Operations
Over the years, I have seen people build websites only to forget about them almost as soon as they go live. This observation has made me realise that there is something fundamentally flawed with the way people perceive their websites in relation to their businesses or organizations.
The flaw arises from people seeing the website as a separate entity, far removed from the other operations of the business or organization, when in fact they should be considered central to operations.
Activity In The Excitement of Building a Website
After overcoming the budgetary constraints and finally making the decision to have a website designed and developed, a business or organization is abuzz with activity with the owners actively involved with the process of building the new and shiny website.
They would be busy with first organizing content and then submitting it to the web developer. Since in most cases the website is not considered central to operations, this stir of activity dwindles and vanishes after the website has been published.
From the developer's side, there is also initially a flurry of activity as well- creating and optimising. Throughout this process of website design and development, there is a lot of back and forth communication between the website owner and the developer.
The web developer makes changes to the website and eagerly awaits the approval of the website owner. The website design and development process is probably the period of highest activity in the life of the website in as far as changes are concerned. What is desirable in the long run is to make the flurry of activity extend beyond this period by considering the website central to operations.
Once It Is Built, It Is Often Abandoned
In sharp contrast to what happens in the website design and development stage, the activity of changes on the website often stagnates soon after the website is published. There may be a few changes here and there as the client suggests adjustments post-publication, otherwise, the website is for all intents and purposes, abandoned.
I say abandoned and not neglected because the neglect is so dire. The website might even go off-line in some cases without the website owners realising it for extended periods. This may be the case because not only don't they keep it updated, but they also hardly ever visit the website a few months after it is published. However, this is not how things should be.
A Website As The Consolidation Point
Ideally, the flurry of activity should continue on from the website design and development phase, even if expectedly at a slower rate. The best way to ensure that the activity on the website continues post-publication is to change your mindset regarding the website. It should be considered a consolidation point for the activities of your business or organization.
Instead of thinking of the website as a discrete element in your business or organizational activities, it should be considered a central part. Perhaps the best time to start thinking this way is even before the website is built- in the planning stages. The website should inform the public but also facilitate operations.
Making It Easy To Stay Current
The first step in making a website a central part of operations is to ensure that it is easy to update. Depending on how a website is implemented, updating it may be a challenge.
It is a good idea to ensure that the website you have is dynamic with a Content Management System, which allows for non-technical individuals to edit and update the site once they log in with a user name and password. The website then provides all the tools for editing and updating the website through a straightforward interface.
Static websites on the other hand require that anyone editing or updating the website to update the raw code of the site. This presents challenges for the non-technical individuals and the website owner has to rely on the web developer even for the most minor of changes.
Why Does It Even Matter?
Making a website the central part of operations means that the website will reflect the level of activity of the business. This might be through a regular blog, news releases, newsletter or offering of real-time data to your clients that will improve customer relations.
Whatever the means and level of integrating of your website into your business or organizational operations, it gives your clients and visitors in general a reason to visit your website. It offers fresh and relevant content. If you do not provide your clients and site visitors with fresh and relevant content, you give them no reason to visit and revisit your website.