Digital Strategy - The end is the beginning
Many websites start off with the best of intentions (often with a solid strategy behind them); however, the launch of the new website is often treated as reaching a destination rather than the beginning of the journey. If you get into this mindset, things will start to fall apart.
This situation isn't surprising when you consider the amount of effort that typically occurs just to get to launch day. It could be a generalisation, but I suspect that it's a hangover from a traditional medium mindset that causes it to occur. When creating some kind of analogue deliverable like a print ad, billboard, or tvc, all the effort is put into creating a finalised deliverable that, when completed, is sent out into the world to do its thing. Once launched, everyone involved breathes a sigh of relief, monitors its progress for a while, but eventually moves onto the next project.
Digital isn't like that. It's a medium that needs to be treated as if it is in a constant state of flux.
A useful analogy I often share with clients that helps them understand this is that creating a new website is like bringing a new child into the world... as opposed to hiring an experienced adult. You will be at the beginning of an exciting journey that requires you to teach and provide:
- Attention - fresh, relevant content and ongoing functional improvements
- Discipline - to keep focused on the main strategy, not ad-hoc organisational whims
- Explore - don't be afraid experiment and try new things
- Sensitivity - listen and respond to the digital/analogue ecosystem 'outside' your website
- Wonder - be constantly asking 'why?' and be willing to modify your website
- Teach - share your experiences with others in your organisation to gain greater support for the website
- Invest - allocate a yearly budget for continuous improvements to the website over time
It's just like bringing up a child - as you set out on the journey, what your website will evolve into over time is unpredictable. If you remember to treat it as an ongoing evolution, rather than a fixed deliverable, you'll create an online destination that people will really care about