“House Poor” Web Sites

By Deane Barker on July 25, 2011

Is your organization’s digital presence “house poor?”: Seth’s post here is spot on – too many companies launch into Web site projects they have no intention of or ability to maintain post-launch/

You based your vision on the websites of companies with lots of money. You didn’t think about the content that you have (your furniture) and how it might fit. Paragraphs of “lorem ipsum” were replaced by one sentence on an otherwise empty page. You still have images with iStockPhoto watermarks in them.

[…] You overestimated your available time to create content. After a year, the blog still has only one post; the “what’s new” section hasn’t changed in months.

[…] You overestimated your skills to maintain the website — the outdated flash promotions, the broken HTML, the awkward looking label images with the slightly wrong color and font.

[…] You paid for functionality that you can’t afford to use or promote: the empty customer forum.

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about “Web Operations Management” – all the things that happen post-launch.  I even made a checklist of all the things that need to be considered to ensure the optimum running of a Web site.  It’s a lot of stuff.

The fact remains that a lot of companies need a Webmaster.  This isn’t a developer – they need a person to basically baby-sit the Web site, and make sure it runs well.  Sadly, few companies want to invest in one.  For too many companies, launch day is the finish line, when it should be the starting line.

I’m trying to figure out if there’s a market for a “shared Webmaster” model, where a company would pay $X a month for someone to manage their Web presence, from analytics to marketing to content development, etc.  I put some numbers together the other day, but I still worry that it’s a tough sell.  Someone who doesn’t think that far ahead is loathe to budget anything, I fear.