I have written on many occasions about how the Internet is a much more advanced communications tool than anything which has come before it, including print brochures and catalogs. The efficiencies are phenomenal. For instance, it is unappealing (and costly) for most companies to reprint new collateral material when there are boxes of the current version still lying around; updating some copy on the Website, however, is relatively easy and virtually cost-free. And print cannot match the Web when it comes to creating a user experience that is timely, compelling, and highly personalized.
What this line of thinking doesn’t properly account for, however, is that maintaining a great Website requires considerably more internal resources than those required with more-traditional media. For example, catalogers follow a very cyclical routine when producing their print editions. In the weeks before a piece goes to press, there’s a heavy workload and a lot of scrambling, but once it’s at the printers, things largely quiet down for several weeks or months, depending on frequency. The Internet, by contrast, is 24/7/365. And best-in-class Websites are likewise dynamic in terms of content, offerings, and news.
Website visitors are typically quick to identify sites that are stale or not user-friendly. Today I looked at the site of a company we were considering referring some business to: The “about us” section had dead links, and the most recent press release in the news section was from April 2005!
Whereas a couple of years ago simply having a Website was a sign of being a progressive organization, today a site that is outdated or lacks polish can be perceived in a very negative manner. You will get out of your Website what you put into it.
Scrutinize your site as often as possible to make sure that it is presenting the image, content, accuracy, and recency that your customers and prospects expect. The costs associated with this effort are different from those of other marketing media, but the significance should not be underestimated.
Andrew Wetzler is president/cofounder of MoreVisibility, a Boca Raton, FL-based search marketing services provider.