A recent snippet of conversation between me and a potential new client:
Me: Okay, I see these three areas of content....Tell me about why those are important to have on your homepage.
Client: Hmm...I'm not sure. The website designer put those there. I can't change it.
Me: Okay. Does that content accurately represent what you do?
Client: No. Not really.
It seems odd, right? But you'd be surprised how many small businesses and non-profits are allowing their website designers to make updates to their website. The most likely reason? Their designer isn't giving them access to the website. Or, the website is so complicated on the back-end that the client has no idea how to update it. Thus, they are forced to let the designer make the changes and stuck in a difficult situation.
Having held nearly every type of position in a non-profit and now being a small business owner myself, I understand first-hand how difficult it is to make time to update a website. It never seems to make it to the top of any executive's list. But, there is a huge opportunity to be missed here.
When you let someone outside of your industry have control over your content, you're missing a prime opportunity to use your website effectively. The beauty of this dynamic marketing piece is that it is dynamic. It can change in a matter of minutes, unlike that pricey brochure or annual report you're stuck with for the next year. Experiencing a funding crisis? You need your website to convey that message and give donors an immediate opportunity to help. Lose a staff position unexpectedly? You need a job posted on your website today.
When you relinquish control of updating your website, you are also giving up control of sharing your most pressing message in a timely fashion.
The best-intentioned website designers will never be able to convey your time-sensitive message the way you can. So what should you do?
- If you're in the process of choosing a website designer, be sure to choose one who lets you own your own site. They should make it easy for you to update the site, train you on how to use it, and you should have all of the passwords to access the site.
- If you already have a website and do not have access to edit yourself, ask the company to train you (or another qualified team member) on how to update the site. Find online tutorials to help you or others in your industry using the same software. If all else fails, considering having your site moved to a platform that easier for you to use.
Don't let your most valuable marketing piece cost you additional money by paying for updates that you are capable of doing yourself. Ask good questions and take back control of your website. It will be one of the best business decisions you make.
*All One Nine Design websites are designed using Squarespace and include comprehensive training for clients to update their own website using a ridiculously easy platform!