Companies risk reputational damage when they don’t keep their corporate websites up to date. It’s low-hanging fruit that should be picked regularly.
As the old saying goes, “first impressions are the most lasting”.
While this saying has been around long before the digital world’s inception, it remains undeniably true when considering websites and the introductory role they often play for businesses.
Almost every company has a corporate website. They are a standard, checklist marketing item in the same vein as a brand name, logo or credentials list. We all know they are an important tool that can educate users about a company, tell the corporate narrative and truly sell why an investor or customer would, and should, care.
Yet in saying this, it is amazing to see the number of companies that don’t keep their websites up-to-date, and therefore do not make full use of this powerful tool. There appears to be an almost ‘set and forget’ attitude toward website maintenance and this is particularly evident with companies that are time poor with limited resources.
Websites are owned channels, i.e. a company has full control over its content and messaging. This means updating them can be easily incorporated into everyday work streams, and content can be tailored to help reach short-term objectives as well as support broader, long-term goals.
Websites should be viewed just like any other external communication; a representation of the company and in need of review to ensure alignment with the company’s evolving corporate plan. In terms of platforms that strengthen reputation and deliver key messages, this is as close to an easy win as it gets – so why not take advantage?
Each company will have different considerations depending on its industry, target audience and budget, but their websites should all ultimately aim to provide a holistic view of the company:
- Who they are
- How they are unique
- How they operate
- What their value is (as an investment prospect and as a service/product provider)
- Where they sit in the market
- What they are like from a cultural perspective
Above all this information should be accessible, engaging and easy to digest.
Currently, it is not uncommon to stumble across a site that:
- Is out of date – both information and style
- Features broken links or is not functioning correctly
- Offers poor user experience and is difficult to navigate
- Is not optimised for mobile devices
- Is not making use of Search Engine Optimisation – the way a website is built will directly impact its ranking on a Google search
- Is filled with content that does not deliver the corporate messages effectively
While these things may not be a top priority or front of mind for a busy corporate exec, there are genuine ramifications to having a website present this way. It is almost a certainty that any prospective client, investor, employee, business partner, journalist or interested party, will view a company’s website if they are considering engaging with them. A poor website very much means a poor reflection and perception of the company, and a fast-track to disengagement.
Just think about your own experiences doing some D&D – how many times have you clicked on a website, found it too hard to find what you were looking for or didn’t even try because the site looked “old” or “low quality”? Whether consciously or not we do this every day and make judgements – rightly or wrongly – based on the visual appearance of a website and the user experience we are offered upfront.
Simple, periodic website reviews with recommendations for ongoing management, can deliver immense, long-term value by strengthening and maintaining a company’s reputation and public perception.