Updating your website

Over the last weeks we have discussed getting onto the Internet and today I’m going to sound a note of warning about that if you’re a part of a business or organisation.
If you’re going to get onto the Internet, you have to do the thing the properly or, in my view, you are better off not even bothering. The first thing to do is to religiously monitor the e-mail addresses given on your website and have some arrangement in place in case the usual recipient is sick or on leave.
The other point to bear in mind is that the content of the website must be kept up to date because it gives a very unfavourable impression if a visitor comes to your site and finds that the latest information on the site is years old.
What brought this to mind is my experience in recent times when I had to do research for my day job and arrived at the websites of some of the biggest organisations in KZN expecting to be able to pick up their latest news and pictures to go with the news.
I was actually shocked to find how out of date some of the sites were with many of them not having been updated in a year, and some of them for even longer. I went to the photo gallery of one major municipality in the KZN interior to find that the latest additions had been made in 2004.
That sort of thing is tantamount to not updating your annual report and leaving the old one lying around in reception for years. That would not create a good impression and neither does a website which is not updated.
I think the trouble is that management decides to have a website because everyone else does, but they overlook the fact that people will actually visit it. They therefore don’t check that it is updated or that it has all the information a visitor might want.
One genuine bar in the way of regular web updates is that it’s usually only the IT department that has the skill to put up web pages, and that it usually has more urgent things to do. This bottleneck can be overcome through the use of a content management system which makes it much easier for normal people to update the site.
Using a CMS would allow Sales to add and remove products from the web catalogue, HR to advertise vacancies, or PR to post the latest publicity material. There are many CMS systems around including WebSideStory Publish.
I see that there are now over 50 million blogs on the web and that two new blogs are being created every second. See below for a link to the full story.

Extra info on what you need to have on your site:
You, of course, need contact details and full info on the progress of your organisation and on every product and service that you offer. There must be decent pictures of your products sized for display on your pages but there should also be a selection of larger ones of products or of staff that reporters could use in their publications. Media people are usually overworked and, just for having decent pictures and newsworthy stories readily available, you could end up with plenty of free publicity. I know that I have often visted sites looking for a story or picture to use, and have been disappointed more often than not.

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