in Design

The Web Is a Priority

I’m not sure when owners, managers, CEOs are going to realize that you can’t take someone who already has a full time job and tack on “looking after updating our website” to their position and think everything is going to work out?

The web is littered with websites full of good intentions but terrible content – likely from 2002. I consistently hear from prospective and/or current clients a familiar phrase:

Jack, our receptionist, will be the one who’ll update our website. He likes that kind of stuff. He loves to use MS Publisher to design our mail-outs so this shouldn’t be too much different.

or

I’m going to make it a priority that everyone on our staff is going to send updates to Linda, my assistant, and she’ll put them up on the website each week. I haven’t talked to her yet about her workload, but we’ll just make it happen because having a website is a priority!

Right. So much of a priority that you’re going to tack it on to someone’s job. Let’s see how well that works out for you in a few weeks when Linda’s regular job doesn’t allow her to do anything but update the hours you’re closed for a long weekend. Priority, indeed.

It’s obviously a foreign concept to a lot of companies – but the good websites? The ones that consistently are updated and have great content? It’s because there’s someone (or a team of someones) who’s full time job it is to curate, write and post content to the website. Or, in select cases, it’s because there’s someone at that company who is passionate about the web and knows the value of having great content and so goes above and beyond the job they were originally hired for to maintain the company blog.

Did you know there’s a whole sub-industry of the web design industry devoted to content strategy? A quick google search will turn up a bunch of great resources, most pointing back in some way to Kritina Halvorson (i.e. book one, book two, A List Apart article).

Despite what many people seem to think, the hard part of a website is not the design and code. It’s easy to pay someone $3,000 to build you a proper website. The hard part is maintaing that website and making sure it’s content is interesting, well thought out and builds on the message your company or brand is about.

Don’t call it a priority when it’s not. You’re lying to yourself and, more importantly, to your customers.