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#564: How Valuable Is Your Website?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, May 12, 2011
Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011
When I redesigned my website five years ago, it was "state of the art" but now I am not so sure? Are websites still useful for market presence and business generation?

Depends on what your site does and what you expect it to do. It is true that a website designed as recently as five years ago (seems like a century in Internet years) is unlikely to incorporate the tools and capabilities it could, particularly in social media. It is just as likely that your approach to web presence may need an updating if you are even asking the question.

Five years ago, many people used their websites as electronic brochures, essentially static representations of capabilities, experience and perhaps some free resources or paid content. The intent was to provide a more widely accessible and updatable corporate brochure. That worked really well, and we all created sites that did that. Since then, our approach to business presence and much of service delivery has migrated from "one to many" communication to building and active participation in communities. This is a lot harder than the paper to electronic brochure transition because it requires a change in how we think about business, not just a change in format.

Thus, asking whether our website is up to our needs first requires us to ask what our marketing needs are and in what online and social media strategies we are prepared to invest our money and time. And just having a LinkedIn and Twitter profile is not enough. Although perhaps a bit harsh, there is increasingly a divide between those who actively participate in social and online communities (there are thousands of communities in which to participate, unlike the "one big Internet" of a few years ago) and those who stand in a corner waiting to be asked to participate. Finally, in addition to the new tools and applications available, your website (or the space it currently occupies) should be part of your service delivery strategy, not just marketing.

Tip: Technology has changed so much that your marketing and service strategies need to take a hard look at your website's role. In one sense, never having had a website might let you be better able to look at how to build out the online portion of your marketing, practice management and client service strategies. Take a look at Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website?.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  marketing  technology  website 

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