Beantin

James Royal-Lawson

webstrategy

Keep your web presence fluid

There’s an announcement. Twitter is alive with tweets proclaiming this wonderful new feature. It’s going to be massive. The next big thing. Bloggers have already implemented it on their WordPress sites. The social media sites have too. Few days later an iPhone app appears. It gets thousands of downloads from the app store.

The depressing truth

You have a meeting and talk about how wonderful it would be to do the same. You all agree. You get the responsibility to investigate the possibility further. A week later you’ve gathered enough background information to make a decent presentation to use in your work to get internal buy-in from key stakeholders. two months later, after 8 meetings with the stakeholders plus a telephone conference with the IT department and their preferred supplier, you get the go-ahead to produce a specification.

This year’s budget has already been blown by the marketing department on a flash-based campaign that received no visitors, so when the quote comes back from your IT department’s preferred supplier telling you how much this new feature is going to cost to implement in your WCMS, you realise that it’s going to have to wait until January.

January comes, the proposal gets accepted, work gets underway. Of course the work run over budget and behind schedule. This means that you missed that month’s maintenance slot. The next available slot when IT can fit it in is the next-but-one maintenance window as the activities planned for the next one are critical ones that IT say can’t be mixed with other, “non-essential”, work.

Finally!

10 months later the feature has finally made the light of day. Of course by this point, the bloggers and various other social media news sites are on their third iteraton, and have implemented a whole load of other features and adjustments that enhance their visitor’s experience.

True or false?

A tall story? or does your neck ache from nodding in agreement?

Take the launch of Google Buzz. Within a matter of days, Mashable had implemented a Buzz Button of their own. They’re a company of 30 or so employees, and a have a website that gets over 20 million page views a month. Yet they have kept their web presence fluid enough so they can react and adapt their tactics at a pace that fits today’s real-time web.

Keep it fluid

Your organisation needs to leave the website redesign cycle behind it and adopt a solid web strategy that then gives you the opportunity to measure, and then adjust your tactics. Your web presence doesn’t stop and wait for you to go through a full website redesign and rebuild. Don’t let yourself get stuck – but It’s not a Las Vegas casino you can knock-down and start again from scratch. It’s closer to a living person. You need to be its personal coach, doctor & surgeon.

Close your corporate website and move to Facebook?

Earlier this week the Swedish arm of international advertising agency Grey decided to shut down their corporate website (and blog) and move their site over to a Facebook page. Idiot move or genius?

Maintaining a website: Boring and awkward?

According to David Schweiler, Digital director at Grey in an article on Resumé, the big advantage of moving to Facebook is that “[you] don’t have to update your regular website anymore, which is both boring and awkward”.

On their website there is a screenshot of a Facebook status update saying that they have moved to Facebook because “We want be where people already are.” and then say that 2.5 million Swedes are already there.

Screenshot of the new look grey.se

Not recommended…

Generally if you have an existing website, then I wouldn’t recommend that you delete it overnight and switch over almost entirely to Facebook. There’s a number of reasons why that’s a silly thing to do – one of which is that it rips the heart out of your search engine profile, leaving customers searching and finding nothing, or at best a page not found.

…But nothing much to lose

In Grey Stockholm’s case, they really didn’t have much to lose. Their old regular site was totally built in flash. It was almost certainly difficult for them to maintain and update. Probably also difficult to measure and assess the success of the site in fulfilling its goals.

Screenshot of the old flash-based grey.se

As a result of being a (poorly constructed) flash-based site, their entire profile in Google consists of 7 pages, most of which is scrap that shouldn’t really be indexed, but has been picked up and included by Google.

From one walled-garden to another

GreyStockholm on Facebook

So by moving their website to Facebook they have effectively moved from one walled garden (Flash) to another walled garden (Facebook). Yes, it’s going to be easier for them to publish updates. Yes, potentially they are going to bring themselves closer to their customers than the site did – but that’s more of a reflection on their (old) site rather than websites at large.

Grey.se as seen in Google's index

What this series of events in the development of their web presence shows is the agency’s lack of understanding of how the web actually works. A lack of understanding of search engines. A lack of understanding of task-based surfing behaviour. A lack of understanding of some basic web standards and techniques. Sadly this is all too common for traditional advertising agencies.

Facebook is no substitute

Grey may be saying that they’ve moved their site to Facebook, but there are certainly numerous tasks and situations where a well thought through and effective “regular” website would be perfect. Situations where a Facebook page is no substitute.

In the hours since Resume published their article they have doubled their number of Facebook fans from 77 to 154. So, perhaps one goal has been reached.


A Swedish take on Grey’s move to Facebook by Magnus Nilsson can be read here: Flytta från webben till sociala medier och blotta ditt nederlag and another one here by Thord Daniel Hedengren: Reklambyrå stänger sin sajt och flyttar till Facebook.

Update: 20110328

Grey Stockholm recently merged with Ogilvy Stockholm to form a new agency called Ingo. In connection with this merger Grey renamed their Facebook page from greystockholm to ingo.

7 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 32-33, 2010)

Why Your Web Developer and SEO Keep Asking You For Content

Anyone involved in creating or managing a website has had “the content problem”. This excellent article lists all the reasons why we should keep on nagging for that content to appear as early in the process as possible.

Reductionism in Web Design

A smile-inducingly long blog post about reductionism and how it can make your web site more effective. Alex breaks down web site reductionism into three main areas; content, code and design.

Why Twitter is hard to use

Oscar takes the example of Twitter as a technically easy thing to use but perhaps conceptually not so easy and suggests you compare this with your social intranet experiences and draw parallels.

Intranet vs Enterprise 2.0 vs Social Software: an obvious case of terminological controversy

Dennis takes us though what he sees as the “real” down-to-earth definitions of Intranet, Enterprise 2.0 and Social (Intranet) Software.

Why Free Plans Don’t Work

Choosing the write pricing model. An age old problem. This case study takes us through the experiences of a web start-up who were using freemium pricing plan and the difficulties that came about.

Twifficiency: A hard lesson in how business news travels fast

One of the most irritating things of this week has been the Twifficiency application spreading around Twitter. The app itself is utterly useless, but it’s given us an excellent case study into how fast things on the real-time web develop and evolve.

Gartner Says Worldwide Mobile Device Sales Grew 13.8 Percent in Second Quarter of 2010, But Competition Drove Prices Down

One of the most striking things you can learn from this Gartner report is the rapid growth of Android. In a year the smartphone market share of Android has leaped from 1.8% to 17.2% and thereby flying past iOS (Apple) who only grew 1% to 14.2%. At this rate, Android with dominate the market by mid 2012. It’s not just the tipping point for the mobile web, but the tipping point for Android.

8 Articles worth reading… (Spotted: Week 27-28, 2010)

The Real Life Social Network v2

216 slides, takes about 20 mins to view and read; but it’s worth it. It’s where we are heading. With this kind of insight, working at Google, you can start to understand that Google producing a Facebook killer isn’t at all unbelievable or unrealistic.

That website costs how much?

Oh my, I think I’ve found true love! Brandon Godwin (and David Hobbs in the comments) have written some incredibly wise-words. Client expectations of what is needed for the perfect web-presence, and the price they are prepared (or have budgeted) to pay are both too low.

Are We Not Context Strategists?

We’re seeing argument after argument about which discipline lies at the top (or bottom) of the pyramid – “xxx is king”. What we should be doing is concentrating on linking these skills horizontally in order to help organisations get the best out of the web.

Forbes: How To Create A Customer Advocacy Program

“Social media doesn’t scale. That’s right, social media doesn’t scale.” says Jeremiah. He goes on to say that your community managers will always be outnumbered by your customers. You need to have a strategy that does scale. His suggestion: Customer advocacy programs.

Innovation: Shrewd search engines know what you want

New Scientist writes “unfortunately eye-tracking hardware is expensive, and few people use it.” …Not a good reason to use inaccurate mouse-data. Read this explanation of mouse-movement correlation problems from Acuity ETS.

Few Facebook users notice ads on News Feed

An eye tracking report concludes that few Facebook users notice ads on News Feed page, but the majority look at status updates from pages they are fans of. But, with 31% looking at ads in the right hand column they are a really cost effective form of advertising.

Millennials will make online sharing in networks a lifelong habit

Millennials will make online sharing in networks a lifelong habit… or at least that’s their intention right now.

5 Key Trends of 2010: Half-Year Report for The Web

Readwriteweb takes a look a what they consider to be the 5 Key Trends of 2010 so far. A fair chunk of their “trends” are actually “events”, but it’s a worthwhile “year-so-far” summary.

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