This was the subject of a recent blog emanating from Firespring.org. It made us aware of the not uncommon occurrences of websites, not lacking in creative merit, having been built in a vacuum.
As a cost saving measure some chief executives, sometimes under the influence of a board member, may be inclined to resort to the talent on offer from a close associate or related person largely based on their technical competence, but who may not be sufficiently versed in the purpose and mission of the organisation. As a result the website will not be aligned with the aims and objects nor integrate with its strategic plan. In many cases the site may look attractive on first impression, but lack in functionality or in an extreme case, look amateurish in spite of its cool features.
Firespring.org points out the importance of every single marketing tool forming part of a cohesive whole that amounts to integrated marketing and needs to be designed to be in sync with everything else in the marketing arsenal.
Ideally the development of the website should be overseen and directed by the chief executive or, depending on the size of the operation, a designated marketing communications executive. It cannot be left to a technical expert, who is not familiar with the organisation. Once set up and approved it calls for constant nurturing and updating to keep pace with ongoing activities and structural changes to ensure that the organisation’s purpose, mission and soul is infused throughout the site. It requires a thorough brief to the developer to ensure that the right story and image is conveyed. Further down the track it demands constant upkeep to keep the contents of the website current. It is noticeable how many non-profits are failing in this regard, thereby depriving their members and supporters of current information and demeaning its image and profile.
The bottom line in all this is to ensure that the website should correctly portray the entity as a functional being and how its methods are achieving beneficial outcomes for its constituency and the wider audience relying on its services. Otherwise it will be just another visual edifice on the internet that accomplishes little of practical value.
Readers intent on commissioning a new or requiring a review of an existing website are invited to contact the NZARC secretariat for advice and assistance.