Strategy and swirls, content and CMS
Sun 09 May 2010
In recent weeks one of my community roles has become active in my area of interest. The organisation's web site is moving forward. The process has included platform considerations, a variety of options for direction, reference site disliked for swirls in the artwork and long discussions about the validity of Facebook.
At the same time another client talks favourably about having a great CMS (content management system) as though it is an �end�.
So often excessive time is spent on CMS and web site appearance when in reality these two things are the least of concerns. As businesses big and small continues to awaken to the importance of web sites, those with the advantage are those with strategy underpinned by commitment to content. Indulge me further:
The most successful modern organisations and businesses will always be operating along a strategic path. Plans and medium term goals will be written down and often thus simply achieved. I put it that the modern organisation will similarly need plans and medium term goals as part of their Internet strategy. This strategy will not speak about web site art work or even specifically refer to need for a CMS, but lay out guidance across the various Internet disciplines. The disciplines range from search engines to gross margins for online sales, visit online advertising spend, social media, content and function along the way to real outcomes.
You may feel a little daunted at this point, cause frankly, I am too. The Internet continues to expand in six or more dimensions. Not only does it continue it's spread of �access� to every corner of the planet, but also by means of access ( this report was drafted on an iPhone, a relatively new �device� that continues it's march to ubiquity). Another dimension is function of key sites. Facebook is a "planet" of it's own in a universe who's commercial �big bang� was just 18 years ago. Social function continues to innovate as we now consider sharing "location" beyond the blogged thoughts, funny photos, friendship links and slightly embarrassing videos of being tipsy last Friday night.
The long and short of it is that even Doctor Who would find it difficult to navigate this cosmic minefield, let alone make a dollar along the way.
In lieu of a good map of this expanding cosmos, a strategy is the best means of guiding the path forward among the planets. Note some of the subheadings. Search engine position. Paid ads. Social media, Home Page, Navigation System ... The list goes on.
Commitment to content.
All to often I have seen business and organisation spend 110% of their Internet budget on a Content Management System as part of a web site redesign. Smacking their hands together it's announced that the job is done.
As a member of the computer industry for twenty years I have seen the same announcement over and over after a network upgrade, contact management database or latest version of Microsoft Office is rolled out. Does a farmer buy a new tractor and park it in shed? Not ever. For him ( or her ) it's now time to plough the field, sow the seeds, tend the crops and harvest... And as for those bedazzling home page designs... Does the it matter the colour of the tractor? Not one bit.
So if you head a company, organsiation or run the Internet outcomes for either, don't expect your job to get easier... I don't.
John Nayler is the proprietor of eCentral, and Internet Consultancy that has been around since the early days. Along the way eCentral has lead some big projects and lots of little ones with a single minded determination toward client bottom line. For more information, www.ecentral.com.au or 0407 15 13 11.