Business owners have a variety of ways in which they relate to their company’s web site. And not all of these relationships are good.
Rather like a child, a web site is your offspring and it continues to develop. Anyone who believes you set up a web site and then never have to worry about it again is – well, frankly, bonkers. Sadly, there are plenty of business owners who do appear to believe that setting up a web site is a once-only operation; you build it then leave it to do “its job” (whatever that is).
A web site is a constantly changing, developing thing that you should love and nurture if it is to do well. You water your plants every day; how much love and attention do you give your web site? You take notice of your children each day, help them grow and improve; do you do the same for your electronic offspring?
Probably not; vast numbers of web site owners build it and leave it, only returning when it goes wrong or when they want to update it – perhaps a year or two later. What state would your plants be in if you only attended to them once a year? How would your children be, if you only noticed them on their birthdays?
Like plants, like children – indeed like much else in life – your web site will only be of real benefit to you if you give it love and attention every day. But what kind of relationship should you have?
Children whose parents are too formal or restrictive frequently end up with psychological problems later in life. So too do children whose parents are too free and easy.
Last week I saw a TV documentary about people who had given up life in the UK to live in Marbella – rich people. One mother was asked by the TV interviewer how “Blue” was. “Blue what?” said the mother, “Blue the colour? What?” She fumbled and looked puzzled until the interviewer reminded her that Blue was the name of her six month old baby. So distant was the mother from her child, she couldn’t even remember its name.
Are you that distant from your web site? Or do you smother it with so much love and attention it can’t breathe? Web sites that are constantly changed, fiddled with and directed are rather like children who get too much attention from their parents. Eventually they reject them.
You need, as in life, a happy balance. So, for web sites what is that? You need to be doing something with your web site every day. Perhaps devote 30 minutes every evening to checking it is all OK – no “404 errors”, for instance. Think during this half hour how you might add to or improve the web site with a small change.
Amazon is the most successful online retailer in the world. They make small changes to their web site every day. Mostly we don’t notice – but compare the web site today from the web site a year ago. It’s vastly different, but there hasn’t been wholesale change – it’s been gradual. The result is a much loved and balanced web site. Yours too could be in the same league, if only you looked after your web site like your plants and your children, giving it attention every day. A web site is not a “make it and leave it” kind of technology – it needs you to get involved; constantly.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+