MEMO – RE: Our Company Website

I am going to redesign our company website. Rather than hire a consultant to do so and be charged a small fortune that could go towards bonuses, I have volunteered for this. It’s a challenge, I am sure, many small businesses in the US are faced with who were coaxed into getting a website or should I say coaxed into having to have a website starting about 10 years ago, and who have had nobody on staff who maintains and regularly updates this website.

This is the situation with our website. Training and experience in marketing is very limited. In fact, all it really does besides providing contact information and introducing some staff, is list the services that we provide. I am not even sure this list is complete because there are numerous services that we could do although we’ve never done it. We’re just waiting for someone to present us with a problem to solve in which case we could do it. What the listing of services does instead is create the impression that we do not offer services not on the list. This will have to change. A website ought to be a marketing tool and NOT a table of contents.

I have no idea whether the fact that we have a website has resulted in a single client who wouldn’t have found us without the website. But if we attempt to use our website for marketing, we should try to make it look like we care about its contents, accuracy, and whether it is up-do-date or not. What I think we need is a completely new and modern look.  This is the first impression people visiting the site get. Right now, I shudder when I hear my boss refer people to our website for additional information because – frankly – there is no additional information to be found, and there is a good chance people will run away and leave the state for good if they see the site. …

The crazy thing is that I created this website in early 2002. So it ought to be my fault if things aren’t in better shape. I have done very little work on it since then, mostly adding new employees and deleting former employees. The thing is that I find it very hard to produce expert language in areas where I am no expert. Regrettably, there has been virtually no feed-back from the kinds of people who are, and therefore pages are lingering in state they’re in.

I am encouraging everyone in the company to take pictures at jobsites whenever they get a chance. We’re engineers and do a lot of work in the field. So naturally, we ought to present ourselves in action. Pictures convey more information than words – duh!, but we never seem to have enough of them. I am convinced that lots of snazzy pictures showing us in action will serve us better than rambling lists of obscure spec’s and test procedures.

I hope that this can be a productive joint venture that will lead to a better website. I know that most of my colleagues will start of by fretting about spelling, colors, font sizes rather than helping to get big picture right. But I have asked for this challenge. I want to try to design a complete website, 2008 style, and do it right. Let’s see how it goes.

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