“A website is not a project but rather a process of continuous improvement.” – Gerry McGovern
McGovern points out the hard truth that most companies completely budget their web efforts incorrectly; as projects and not as ongoing operations. A website is never finished, and individuals at most companies know this intuitively, but in many cases internal processes aren’t set up for proper funding.
This happens when you think of a website as “marketing material” like a brochure, but not if you think about it as your company’s online magazine, broadcast TV or radio channel. If your company owned its own TV station, would it fund a project to build up the station and then perform simple “maintenance” on it after the first several months? Of course not.
The web is not TV of course, but in many ways it’s much more. In most cases, it’s your company’s most important, most far-reaching publishing system. At the very least, it’s your online magazine. It’s what enables a real-time, ongoing conversation with your customers.
Creating a website as a single project without any significant ongoing investment is sort of like building a voice-mail system. “Press 1 if you want to know the colors available. Press 2 if you want to know a list of available options…” But you rarely update the options and you don’t give your customers any opportunity to actually speak with anybody. What an opportunity lost! Especially with a medium as rich, compelling and measurable as the web.
It’s important, but not sufficient, to build your website on a content management system and have editors staffed to keep the content fresh and up-to-date. The CMS and website itself will need consistent enhancement, analysis and optimization, or else you will find that after a pretty short period of time, your website will feel old and obsolete. And if you think that, you can bet your customers will too.
It’s fine for a company to fund an initial web build-out in a capital budget, but companies are really sabotaging their web investments if they don’t put together significant operational budgets for the constant changes and improvements that a compelling and effective website require.
If you’d like to discuss what an effective process of ongoing improvement really looks like for your website, please give us a call.