Problems In Maintaining An Active Web Presence

Every company, large or small, want an active web presence. They want to be visible and searchable online. But the problem is many of them lose interest in maintaining it within two months. So how do you maintain an active web presence?

Maintaining An Active Website

In The Beginning There Was A Word – Excitement

It’s a common emotion when you first propose to build a web presence. Every company that embarks to build up their web presence dream of being in the search result of every search engine. And everybody’s ever so eager to help contribute in the “design” and the content contribution, so that each individual leaves their mark in their corporate website, and thus in cyberspace. Well, I can’t say that I blame them. These days, if you don’t have an online presence, you don’t exist. It is that simple.

Some may choose to build it in-house. Others may contract a third-party developer to build it for them. And others, to keep a tight control of things, engage a consultant to help them develop it on their own. Whichever method you choose, the end result should be quite similar.

Everybody from the top management all the way down to the lowliest general worker will be excited. The excitement stemming from the fact that they’re related to a company that’s present in cyberspace. But the harsh reality is just how short-lived the excitement will be, once the dust settles.

Basic Steps Of Keeping A Web Presence Active

Maintaining an active web presence is no rocket science. It’s actually an open secret, and it’s downright simple – emphasis on open secret. And the secret is simply keeping it active. The reason why so many corporate web presence fail miserably is not because they don’t observe these simple steps, but rather lack of follow-through. In short, their web presence is no longer active. It’s no longer a loving home, but an abandoned building, full of cobwebs and dust… Anyway, listed below are the core steps maintaining an active web presence :-

(1) K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid!…

Similar to other types of visual designs, the simpler a design is, the more attractive it’ll become. Whether you’re designing a corporate website, a corporate logo, a corporate tagline, and especially so, your social media presence. Always remember who your target audience are, and acknowledge the fact that they’re fellow human beings too. Humans are visual creatures. The more visual a design is, the more attractive it’ll become. But don’t get carried away, and go completely overboard. An overly complex design will turn away potential visitors before they even enter through your front door.

(2) Have Lot’s Of Interesting Bits Of Information

Human beings are naturally curious, so feed their curiosity. It’s insufficient to simply tell them just how good you are at what you do. You have to demonstrate to them just how good you really are. It is safe to assume that nobody will believe anything you say until they see it for themselves. Henceforth, the more pieces of interesting bits of information (i.e. content) you produce, the more fodder there’ll be for the curious minds to wander through in your cyber home.

(3) Keep ’em Coming, And Keep ’em Fresh

Having interesting contents is a good way to lure strangers to visit you, but it’s insufficient to hold their attention for very long. Regular publications of new contents will not only appear attractive to new visitors, but will also keep returning visitors continuously engaged. That’s a guaranteed way to continuously increase web traffic.

(4) No Major Visual Changes Too Often

Revamping of your web presence may be good way to freshen up the tired looking and aged design. But revamping it too often, and too drastically, will only bring about negative results. If you have no consistency in your design language, you’ll also appear to have no opinion, or worse, no integrity. Make all the subtle visual or structural changes you want, but do it in small amounts, and stretch them over a long period of time. Don’t project the image that you’re so indecisive that every change you make doesn’t last very long.

See?… It’s not really that difficult to do, right?… So why do so many corporate web presence just doesn’t seem to last very long?… Why do they lose steam just when they’re starting to build the momentum?… What’s the problem?…

So Why Do Corporate Web Presence Still Fail?

As you can see from the four simple steps above, there’s no way for any corporate web presence to fail. It’s an idiot-proof way to build and maintain any corporate web presence. So why do so many corporate web presence still fail?…

Unsurprisingly, the answer has more to do with human nature than simply adhering to the tried and true formula given above. We’ve all heard of these motivational phrases before :-

Success Is A Journey, Not A Destination.

Would You Rather Soar Like A Majestic Eagle,
Or Flock Like The Pigeons Scouring For Scraps?

Winners Never Quit, Quitters Never Win.

It Takes Many Years To Win A Customer,
And Mere Seconds To Lose One.

They hang on the walls of corporate offices, and get passed around via emails and instant messages. People read them, and get all fired up… Only to forget all about them five seconds later… You see, there’s no lack of answers, just the lack of people adhering to the answers.

So why do so many corporate web presence still fail, when the answers are so clearly written all over the place? Let’s take an in-depth trip through the corporate minds on the four simple steps mentioned earlier :-

(1) K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid

You may not be visually inclined, or you may even graphically challenged. Even then, you can still decide what you like and don’t like to see on a website. It’s just a matter of looking at it from the perspective of an outsider, not of your own. It’s so easy to get carried away, and start cramming your, already limited, web real estate with irrelevant details. If you think you already have a limited amount of web real estate, then also know that the casual visitor to your website will have an even shorter attention span than yourself to take in all of the information. As the title says – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

If you can afford it, hire a professional web designer, or engage a branding consultant. They can help you come up with a design that conveys the maximum amount of information without drowning your visitors. But if you don’t have a big fat A&P (advertising and promotion) budget, don’t fret. Any art college graduate will be more than happy to do it for you, for nothing more than a song and a dance.

(2) Have Lot’s Of Interesting Bits Of Information

Of course, you’d want to feature your products or services as your centre piece. But resist the urge to get carried away, and list down everything in detail. Your products or services page is like a restaurant’s menu, listing out your signature dishes. It’s not a recipe book, so please don’t describe in detail how to prepare your signature dishes.

And contents also mean more than just a list of your products or services. Contents also include all kinds of interesting articles and stories related to your business or industry. This is your personal soap-box, so make full use of it to express your opinions on anything and everything. The more you voice your opinion, the more knowledgable you will appear in the eyes of your visitors.

(3) Keep ’em Coming, And Keep ’em Fresh

Now, here’s where 99% of the failures come in. When newly starting out, everybody is excited about the new platform to convey their corporate message. Everybody wants to contribute in the creation of their web presence. Everybody wants to leave their mark in cyberspace. But in less than two months, most of them will get bored of putting in the extra effort. They start to feel that they’re doing extra work on top of their own responsibilities. They start resenting being treated unfairly, by being burdened with the extra content creation work.

In about two months after the exciting start, everybody start slowing down on their content creation. They start looking around to their other colleagues, and blame them for not being tasked with the same amount of work. This negative emotion spreads like a plague, very quickly engulfing the whole corporate branding team. Before too long, everybody is infected, and the overall effort in content creation grinds to a halt.

If you look at the big picture, you’ll notice that the number of visitors to your cyber home start plummeting. The momentum that was nicely building up suddenly starts slowing down. Everything is doom and gloom. And the ugly but predictable human nature starts to kick in, pushing the blame to everybody else except themselves. If they engaged external help (i.e. web designer or branding consultant), then they collectively start pushing the blame to them too.

So what happened to all the motivational posters that adorned the walls of their corporate offices?… Is it all just bark and no bite?…

(4) No Major Visual Changes Too Often

Now, the popularity is fast fading, and the number of visitors are continuously dropping. There has to be a problem. And the “blame others but themselves” syndrome kicks into full gear. The “problem” is never about the slow down in their fresh content creation, since that’s their responsibility. Therefore the “problem” has to be the design of the corporate website itself… Yes… Visitors are getting bored with the design, and they want a fresh new look. So the solution is the complete revamp of the whole corporate website, inside-out…

And thus begins the never-ending cycle of presenting new and unfamiliar visual representations of the corporate brand to the cyber-citizens. Funny how they never realise successful corporate brands never sway very far from their identity…

Achieving a successful brand identity isn’t about changing them until you hit the right one. It’s all about settling on an identity that best represent you, and building it up slowly. It’ll take lot’s of hard work and patience before you begin to see positive results. And even then, you can’t stop your hard work and rest on your laurels. That’s a surefire way to lose your momentum, and waste all of your previous hard work.

The Real Secret To Keeping A Web Presence Active

Adhere to the four simple steps mentioned above. Read all the motivational posters, and more importantly, put them into action. After all, Rome wasn’t build in one day. And a successful corporate web presence is one that is built on the toil and sweat of the people who identify themselves with it. But more importantly, a successful corporate web presence is an active website, that is continuously and lovingly worked on by its corporate branding team.

Remember – Success Is A Journey, Not A Destination.

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