7 November 2011

Does your website belong to your company?

Does your website belong to your company?

I recently went interstate to meet a potential client. Naturally, I had studied their website before the meeting – and had thus formed a preconception about the company based on what I saw online. But when I walked into their office and held a business meeting, I had a completely different experience. My first impression – the digital one – was at odds with the real-life one.

It’s not the first time this has happened. And it makes me think, “Why?”

Let’s face it. People are copycats. Particularly on the web – where it’s too easy to find a trend and say, “Let’s do it too”.

But by simply adopting the Next Big Thing for your website, without giving thought to how it will support your business, you run the risk of compromising the customer experience.

When it comes to your web content, you should be striving to achieve authenticity and consistency. These two factors are critical if you want to ensure the customer experience is seamless across the digital and non-digital channels.

Authenticity is achieved when you create content that truly belongs to your company. It’s content that supports business strategy and clearly links to the direction the company is taking. It breathes life into your brand and gives the visitor the sense that they have come ‘home’ to your organisation.

Consistency is critical to ensuring that the customer experience is the same whether they are browsing your website, walk through the doors of your organisation – or even pick up the phone.

These sound like simple strategies but, unfortunately, they’re often missed.

It takes work to ensure that the identity of your website matches the real-life identity of your business. Instead of relying on a junior web manager to add content wily-nily, just for the sake of adding content, you should elevate content strategy and development to a senior position on the corporate to-do list.

And you should constantly be asking yourself, “Whose website is this? Does it really belong with our company?”