Recently, I met with a client who is going through what I think is a fairly common occurrence: Their website was woefully out of date. Just as common was the fact that they had several people within their organization responsible for providing content for their areas of expertise.
In all honesty, I see this quite a bit. When you’re first getting your organization online (or redesigning and upgrading your site), it can feel like the sky’s the limit. People are energized and throwing lots of great ideas out there.
Unfortunately, after that great new website is launched reality starts to settle in. Team members who are already very busy suddenly realize that keeping a website populated with fresh content can mean taking time away from other important tasks. Soon, the website gets put on the back burner.
In my experience, this problem stems from a few different factors:
Approaching the New Website “All-In”
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it can sometimes lead to setting unrealistic goals. That can cause team members to be a bit overwhelmed with their new responsibilities.
The Solution: Start Small
Time and again, this is what I recommend to my clients. You don’t have to shoot for the stars right out of the gate. Look at things realistically and determine what your organization can handle in terms of time and responsibility. Once you are comfortably keeping your site up to date, you can certainly add more bells and whistles.
Lack of Policy and Procedure
It’s fine to say that “Jill will handle customer feedback” and “Bob will take lots of pictures of the big conference”. But, if there’s no procedure in place to ensure that team members have the time and resources necessary to do those things, a website can get stale pretty quickly.
The Solution: Clearly Define Roles & Time Requirements
I think everybody is more at ease when they know exactly what is expected of them and when it is expected. Make sure everyone responsible for providing web content knows what they are supposed to provide and allow them to set aside a proper amount of time to do it. This simple step can really make the difference between the website becoming a priority or an afterthought.
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
Yes, the classic phrase. It can mean the death of many a good idea. While it may be easy to get 10 board members in a room, it may be darn near impossible for all of them to agree on content, design or just about anything else. That can quickly place your online efforts in a state of arrested development (yes, I do love that show!).
The Solution: Let Everyone Have Their Say, to a Point
This is where leadership really has to show up. While it is certainly important to allow stakeholders to have some say in what the website looks like and what content goes on it, there has to be a limit. Otherwise, you’ll go through an endless cycle of revisions and meetings that may ultimately lead to a stale website. CEOs and the like must encourage constructive feedback, but then make decisions that are in the best interests of the organization.
If you’re just starting out on the web, or revamping an old site, now is a good time to think about your goals and what policies you can implement to achieve them. If you’re in the thick of a disorganized online effort, take a step back and try and figure out how you got there.
Either way, getting the work flow of your organization in good order can benefit your website and beyond.