Why getting a website is like buying a car!

Or, why you really need a web strategy!

Many web development professionals will suggest that you have a web strategy to guide the development and management of your website. Is that really necessary? Or is just an excuse for a consultant to write an expensive report that will do little except gather dust on a shelf?

In some ways, getting a website is like buying a car. When buying our first car we might take into account factors such as:

  • how fast it goes
  • what colour it is
  • what make or model it is.

But as we become more experienced we are likely to be guided by how well the car suits our needs and how it can help us meet our other objectives. We might take into account factors like:

  • how many passengers we need to be able to transport
  • how much we can afford to spending maintaining it
  • how much luggage or other cargo we will need to carry
  • whether we want to be able to go off-road
  • what safety features we require
  • whether we need to be able to tow a trailer

and so on.

By posing, and answering, appropriate high-level questions we are in effect developing an informal “car strategy” that will help to ensure that the car we buy will meet our needs.

The same principles applying when considering your website. In the beginning it may be tempting to focus on issues like how the site looks, and whether it incorporates the latest trends and technologies, But as we become more experienced in website ownership we focus more on how well the website is meeting our objectives.

To ensure that your website is effective you need to determine how it can help you to meet your business and organisational objectives, and then develop and manage the site accordingly.

Depending on your circumstances your web strategy may be only marginally more complicated than your “car strategy” or it may be considerably more complex. By formally documenting your strategy you will be better able to ensure that your website is developed and maintained to meet your needs and objectives.

Published: Monday, 8 April 2013