Here is our final look at fixing sucky websites. In Step One, we cleaned up the obvious stuff like broken links and old content. Step Two had us updating images and fixing navigational dead ends. But that was just window-dressing. Deep down you know when even your very pretty site is still Sucky. You also know that if you don’t do something, it may well be Doomed. Doomed, gentle friends, is expensive.
It’s not that you don’t know what your site should be. You’ve read the white papers and ebooks. You’ve been shamed in the webinars and conference sessions. You know about blogs, live chat, video, mobile optimization, integration with social and rewriting all the copy to appease the SEO gods. You feel guilty, uncool and defeated. Let’s dwell here awhile, shall we?
- You have a terrible platform that just won’t let you do what you need to do
- You have a great platform but no tools to get stuff done quickly
- You have a great platform and great tools, but nobody who knows how to use them
- You have a great platform, great tools, and a trained web resource, but they have a day job and can’t seem to get around to the website
- You have all of this but no idea where to go next
- You have an idea of where to go next but no budget to do it
- Somebody, in the name of centralization, locked your website in a castle keep, and now demands a cost centre to fix a comma and, by the way, you’re just not a priority anymore.
I hate to say this, friends, but this just screams: hire a consultant.
Not a web design firm. Not a digital agency. Not a co-op student. Not a web platform integrator and, certainly, not your marketing automation company. What you need is someone who is selling you only their time and experience and not their Daddy’s version of success.
Web designers will show you pretty, pretty things and promise to work with whatever plumbing you may have in place. Their Daddy is building something pretty and moving on to the next project.
Digital agencies may know a little more about the plumbing (careful, many don’t) but their Daddy is to get you to buy digital ads, and they’re not particularly interested in how the site is built or the gymnastics required to get things done. In fact, it’s a safe bet they’re counting on your internal web challenges as a way to push back on any questions about dismal campaign results.
Coop students are really, really great for checking links and making sure you have the rights to the images on your site. If you are entrusting your website to Skippy, you have got bigger issues than I can solve.
Web integrators and your marketing automation people are expert plumbers whose Daddies are license and support revenue agreements – long ones. Sure, they’ll build you a platform that slices, dices and juliennes. They’ll throw in a free set of steak knives too, but let’s be honest, they are probably why you are in this mess with the platform that nobody can use. Their Daddy has your Daddy (This Year’s Budget) by the ankles and if you even think of blowing away that agreement, you’re in for a nasty contractual swirly.
But the right consultant’s Daddy is a whack of money to help you get on track and enough smarts to know that if they do it right, there will be plenty more projects to follow. A good consultant will help you start where it makes sense, which is the beginning. They should get you to a point where you have a set of goals you actually understand and that have some passing relationship with the goals of the larger organization, a realistic way to measure your success and a strategy to get there.
The best news, you can use your consultant as a human shield when you take the whole thing to the Hand-Wringers, Keebler Elves and Productivity Prevention Department. Remember, the thing about stakeholders is that sometimes they are holding real stakes, and your best defence is an outsider who is more credible than you, or at least can’t run quite as fast.