Extreme Makeover: Website Edition? Not Always!

by Susan Murphy

Often, we are so busy going about our business, trying to find time to do everything we need to do, that before we know it, we’ve started to let ourselves go a bit. We get a little rough around the edges, unkempt. We are so busy that we put up with the status quo until it starts to become a real issue. Then finally, when we can’t take it anymore, we get back on the treadmill, get our hair cut, and go shopping for some new clothes.

The same can be said for web sites. We’ve all been there – we launch a great new design, with spectacular new content, and then poof! Two or three years have gone by and not a stitch of it has been updated. The colours are bland. The technology is outdated. You are almost embarrassed to have the web site address on your business cards.

The solution? Start again and build a new site, of course! But building an updated site doesn’t always mean starting over. In many cases, our clients come to us because they’ve been told by someone that in order to do a proper update to their site, they have to start over from scratch, basically throwing away all the work they did before and spending exorbitant amounts of time and money to rebuild. We believe there’s a different way.

Sometimes a little TLC is all that’s required. There’s a good chance that you’ve got more going for you than you may think in terms of your web site. Many of our clients come to us with web sites that look circa 1997, but more often than not, they’ve got some great content lurking in the corners. We help them dig out the hidden gems, and explore other sources of content too. Almost everyone has brochures, ads, white papers, and presentations that they’ve been creating all along, even while the web site went ignored. All of that content is valuable. When we perform a content audit as a first step, we uncover the true stories, waiting to be told. With some close review and revision, we create a foundation. And with a foundation, there’s inspiration to find new ways to present the existing content in fresh, clean, clear new way. Think of it as cleaning house, putting a fresh coat of paint and some new pictures on the wall. After that, we do re-vamp of the look and feel and our clients are back in business, without the need to start from scratch.

A web site is ALWAYS a work in progress. With a fresh new look and feel and a message that sticks, you’re well on your way to regaining pride in your online presence. But it doesn’t stop there. Remember, the road to stagnant web sites is paved with good intentions. The last thing you want to do, after investing time and money into a freshened up site is let it go stale again. We tell our clients that building and maintaining a great web presence is about having a strategy in place to ensure its long term success and their positive return on investment. This means understanding their audience, understanding their lines of business, and understanding how they’re going to use online tools and techniques to connect with people and build lasting relationships that help their businesses to flourish. Businesses that succeed online do so because they have mastered the two-way human interaction that is fundamental and unique to online marketing, and because they are continually providing fresh, relevant content.

Ultimately, it comes down to your goals. It’s about understanding what you need to achieve with your web presence and then implementing a plan that is going to yield results. Keeping these things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to unveiling a new world of online opportunities that can only stand to benefit your business and your customers.

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