«Return to Blog List Part 4, Why Bad Websites Happen to Good Companies: Leaving the Website to the Webmaster or Web Designer
Don’t get me wrong: web designers and programmers are critical to the process of creating a website. But they cannot manufacture a viable web presence without the ongoing interest and participation of C-level (CEO, COO, etc.) managers in establishing, supporting, and adjusting a company’s web strategy. Companies that don’t understand the place their websites have in connecting and communicating with their customers will not give them the attention needed to be more than online brochures. In such a situation, the “web guy/gal” can do little more than make the website an attractive shell, devoid of any real “meat” that would engage a company’s customers.
If you’re a C-level manager, how can you be productively involved in your company’s web effort? In the words of the warden in Cool Hand Luke, first you have to “get your mind right.” To accomplish that, commit to a minimum of 4 hours a week for 6 weeks to do the following:
- Educate yourself about about how other companies are using the web to connect with their markets rather than talk at them. A good place to start is with David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. The book contains some great information that will help you understand more about your website’s potential.
- Use Google Blog Search to find blogs that relate to your industry. Get RSS feeds to 5-10 blogs (if you don’t have an RSS client, get one. Google has a free reader, and there are other free options.) Read the blog posts you find interesting and make comments when you feel you have something of value to add to a post.
- Establish a LinkedIn account (or pay more attention, if you already have one). Make some connections, join some groups, participate in discussions, and answer some questions. Avoid blatant self- or company-promotion and focus on helping people with their problems.
After 6 weeks, a light bulb should go on (even if it’s flickering a bit) about how the web has become a place for connecting, rather than for broadcasting messages. If that light bulb is lit up for you, you’re ready to participate in your company’s web effort. You won’t be an expert, but you will have begun to realize your company website is not doing what it could to contribute to your company’s sales, marketing, and customer relationship goals. That realization will enable you to participate constructively in creating a web presence that engages people in your market.