This is my 77 lb puppy Atlas. He loves to chew socks – with feet still in them. He can jump onto our kitchen countertop. He also has epilepsy, which means 2 meds a day for life. These make him extra thirsty so he pees a lot, often in his bed. And he loves to cuddle. Did I mention he is still a puppy?
When you launch a new website into the world – this is what you are getting: an active, unpredictable, attention-demanding entity that – in spite of it all – can improve your quality of life.
Yet often organizations treat their websites as microwaves. They take it out of the box, shiny and new, sit it on a shelf and only think about it when it stops working. It is ignored but expected to perform every time.
Many organizations are on their 3rd, 4th or 8th websites. When one stops working it is simply replaced. Stop treating your web asset as a disposable object. You have a puppy – not a microwave and if you don’t take care of it accordingly the lifetime value of that asset is diminished.
There are 3 key areas that need to be in place for your website to thrive.
Content curation: Content is like a slab of raw meat. Your web asset needs a steady stream of fresh, good quality content. And it needs to be edited and cleaned up regularly as well. A little basic hygiene goes a long way.
Web governance: Think of this as discipline and training. Who is going to carry out the care and feeding, and make sure it is done properly? You need to ensure growth is aligned with the needs of stakeholders so engagement is positive.
Measurement: Your website needs regular checkups to see if it is healthy and performing as it should be: behavioural issues, overweight, need some extra TLC? Does your site play well with others?
Without investment in these 3 areas your website will not thrive, and it will cost you more in the long run. Give your website a name if that helps remind you that it is a living thing that represents a long-term commitment that should not be entered into lightly. But cared for properly your web asset will last for years and grow to be a happy, healthy, contributing member of your organization.
This post originally appeared on InSight, the ISL Blog, December 20, 2013.