Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So you think you need a new website . . .

Last week we had a visit from a social friend who had called and asked: “Youz guys do web sites – right?” Yes, we do. So they came in and said that their existing web site was over 10 years old, needed to be updated, and was not working (not functionally but marketing wise). After viewing the web site, they were correct in all three areas.
The conversion was longer than planned. Once they accepted that their web site is one, if not the most important, branding channel for their company, they realized that updating their existing website is more than updating photos, staff members bios, or client lists. These are extremely important but updating does not stop there.

The web has been around long enough that we now know where a visitor spends most of their time (eyes-wise), gender differences, and age differences in web layout. You can age a site by simple things as location of navigation buttons and information presentation flow. In short when re-doing your website, implement a new design – a new look that better reflects your brand.

“Our existing website does not work!” What you are really saying is that your website is not telling your story. Initially websites were just an electronic “yellow pages” ad. No longer true – they must tell your story if not your competitors’ sites are telling their stories loud and clear. So do not just update content. Perform a complete content analysis: what should be said, in what format, how much. Today’s websites are simple, clean, crisp, and minimal text. Also remember the web is still a visual media.
Finally realize and accept that your website does not stand-alone. Viewers expect your site to be collaborative and personal. Also such things as social media and new media (blogs, ezines, podcasts) channels are all used hand-in-hand to distribute your site outward and bring people to the site.

In summary – when considering to update an aged website, remember three key words:
• Design
• Story
• Media Channels

Friday, October 22, 2010

Social Media Private Line or Party Line

I am probably showing my age, but I remember when I was a young, the phones had what was known as party lines. Even though you had a unique telephone number, other numbers would utilize the same line. So you could pick up the phone and hear someone else’s telephone conversation. You had to be careful what you said or the gossip mill would use your conversation to your detriment. It was not until we had private lines could one be more open in what was said. Of course wiretapping can get around that.

I mention this because there are similar cautions one must take when posting on social media channels. Realize every electronic posting you make is there literally forever. You may post something today, very innocently, and it can be held against you 5, 10, or whatever years from now. Of course we must warn friends and family of these dangers but it also applies to business postings. Make sure you have everyone who posts to your social media channels know that something innocently posted now can be used against you in the future. Unlike a phone call that is not recorded, social media postings do not go away.

Does this mean you should not use social media for businesses. Of course not, but it does mean like any other business tool, if not used properly, it can hurt your organization more than it can help.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Open to New Life

On October 7th, Studio Guy got a new cousin – Charles Richard. Baby and Mom are doing fine. Some want to call him Chuck and some want to call him Charlie so Studio Dog came up with a compromise - Chucklie.

It is always amazing to see the wonders of new life. Especially when it is your 14th grandchild. With the arrival of a new life, the question can be asked: How open are we to new life? This question is not limited to just new human life. It can also be applied to the life of our organization. Just how open are each of us to new life in our company? Or is it seen as change – a four-letter word.

Chucklie’s arrival has an impact to the life of the studio. He represents new ideas, new futures, new adventures, and new challenges.

Are we ready to face the same in our company? Are we willing to take on the challenges of change and bring new life to our organizations? It will mean new ways of looking at things and trying out new ideas, going beyond our comfort zone (including our approach to external and internal communications).

The only thing I can say is that without being open to new life, you will not enjoy the pleasure of experiencing new growth.