So your organization needs a website? Maybe a content management system (CMS)? With a little smattering of customer relationship management (CRM)? Oh wait, you need some Web 2.0…you know, some cool stuff! Better not forget analytics. And do you want some fries with that?
Picking features for your organization’s website can sometimes feel like you’re ordering from the drive through at Burger King. But at Burger King you know exactly what you’re getting and exactly how much it will cost. But have you thought about the costs after you scarf down that double Whopper with cheese? The indigestion, the big butt, the extra 30 minutes you’ll need on the elliptical at the gym? Okay, so I’m being silly, but I’m trying to make a point. That’s kind of the way websites are.
Launching a great website is only the start of your organization’s investment in its online presence. It’s after launch when things can get dicey. Have you thought about who is going to maintain your CMS? Have you thought about how you’re going to get reports out of your CRM? Do you realize that a website isn’t a one time investment? It’s an ongoing affair that requires upkeep, care, and a whole lotta love.
Here are some tips for preparing your organization’s management for understanding that buying a website is not all that different from buying a car. It needs its’ oil changed.
- You will encounter completely unforeseen circumstances. A server hard drive will crash. A network will fail. There will be a ‘glitch.’ Be prepared to pay for fixing these problems even though they aren’t your fault. They might not be anybody’s fault.
- Know that your website is not perfect. All software systems will break down occasionally. Have money set aside for future bug squashing and upgrades.
- Train your own people on how to maintain your CMS. Knowing some simple web technologies, like HTML and manipulating images with Photoshop, can provide you with the firepower you need to keep your site up to date and looking great.
- Don’t be helpless. Learn how to use the administration features of your site. Know what your system is capable of and don’t be afraid to use it.
- Realize that your websites success is a direct result of your organization’s willingness to work hard and take accountability for it. Don’t expect your development team to do everything for you. No one knows your business better than you, so take some action and get in there and get your hands dirty.
Getting some of these basic principles right early on can be the difference between a happy, healthy website owner, and a grumpy one with buyer’s remorse.