If your company is battling about whether to improve its Web properties, I say go for it. The present market represents a great investment opportunity for companies of all sizes to improve, renovate, and extend their Web services.
For many companies, the corporate Web site was constructed anywhere from 1997 to 1999. In the worst case, that was nearly four years ago! Like any other depreciable asset, Web properties deteriorate and lose value over time. Most organizations have sites that have exhausted their useful life.
Here are some diagnostic tests to evaluate if your company is ready for a Web makeover:
- Check the copyright year on your homepage. If it’s more than a year old, it’s a good sign that you need a refresh.
- Produce a Web traffic report with a view of the past two years. If you notice a plateau, or if traffic is growing slower than industry rates, it could signal a stale presence or diminishing customer value.
- Audit the services you deliver through the site. What you thought was innovative in 1999 has probably become the standard functionality of 2001.
- Examine the look and feel. Web sites are like cars. It’s easy to pick out the older model from among the modern ones. Make sure your company’s site doesn’t resemble an ’84 Impala.
- Keep up with the Joneses. Look at your nearest competitors. Do they have a more interesting presence online? Do their projections look more professional? If so, improving your Web presentation could provide a competitive edge.
It’s a Buyer’s Market
Many companies are hesitant to make new investments into Internet-related projects. This is understandable, given today’s market conditions. However, the cost structure of the Web construction business has decreased tremendously over the last two years. All aspects of Web development, from hosting and hardware to software and services, have declined in price and increased in functionality. Moore’s Law has finally taken effect in the Web development industry.
Here are the right steps to execute your corporate Web makeover:
- Pick the right team. Today’s market allows companies to be very selective in hiring Web contractors. Take the time to interview prospective companies and do a thorough evaluation of their work.
- Negotiate the right price. Forget about your preconceived notions of Web development costs. There is a glut of talent and experience on the market right now. The price of Web construction services, such as production or visual design work, have reached commodity levels.
- Set the right goals. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past by promising revolutionary change simply by constructing a new site. The makeover should be viewed as a maintenance effort for an essential customer-contact point — one that is merely part of a company’s customer-contact portfolio.
Slow Adopters Will Benefit
If your company has delayed corporate Web investments, congratulations! Your timing is impeccable. Companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, manufacturing, or any other industry slow to integrate the Web as part of an overall communication strategy have the opportunity to implement state-of-the-art technology at bargain-basement costs.
If your company is considering a corporate Web makeover or looking for additional advice on how to improve existing its Web assets, feel free to send me an email.