Raising the Perceived Value of Your Website

    December 19, 2005

Perception is everything. Right now, most senior managers do not perceive that content delivers significant value.

I recently was in a meeting with a senior manager from a large organization. The purpose of the meeting was to present a new strategy for the intranet. It had taken eight months of hard work to make such a meeting happen.

A process had begun earlier in the year to convince a whole range of stakeholders that a new strategy was required. Carefully, a business case was built, and the need for change was outlined.

Within a few minutes of the meeting starting, the senior manager made the following observation: “This is a management challenge.”

Strange as it might seem, I have rarely seen content management being accepted as a management discipline. Most people who ‘manage’ websites have little authority. They are, in reality, website administrators. They put stuff up. Content that is administered rarely delivers value.

To maximize value you must publish high-quality content (killer web content). That requires significant skill and active management. Low quality content is easy to get. Just have junior people pump your intranet with whatever they can find. Give authors control and let them publish what they want.

The senior manager recognized that without proper management, the intranet would fail to deliver value. He was willing to invest in proper management; hiring professionals, training staff, setting standards, and measuring rigorously. He was prepared to do this because he had been convinced that the intranet had the potential to deliver much more value.

Value is at the core of the content management challenge. Low-quality content destroys value, and there is a lot of low-quality content out there. How do you measure value? Task completion. How many of your readers completed a task as a result of your content?

It’s not easy to measure task completion for content. You need to do a lot of observation of your customers; a lot of usability.

Every year, an understanding of the value that the Web can deliver grows. More and more organizations are investing in the Web because they can quantify the return. Others have come to realize that the return is not there. For them, a brochure website is all that they need.

As a web manager, what you don’t want to occur is to have your website perceived as delivering less value than it actually does. Most senior managers start off with the belief that the Web contributes little to value creation, so you’ve got some convincing to do.

It is up to you to slowly raise their awareness. Senior managers set the value agenda. Get them on your side and you will receive more support and resources, thus allowing you to create even more value.

If you want to deliver value from content you must treat it as a management activity. You need to grow the content management expertise within your organization. That is the path of value.

For your web content management solution, contact Gerry McGovern http://www.gerrymcgovern.com

Subscribe to his New Thinking Newsletter: subscribe@gerrymcgovern.mailer1.net