jim.hamill@energise2-0.com

Should Web Sites Become Ghosts?

Ghosting SeasonWe have argued for some time now that Social Media redefines the concept of what a web site should be.

In a Web 1.0 era, we had little option but to build sites with high value content, functionality and interactivity. With few other online channels available, your web site was designed to maximise the level of customer engagement. Such sites were often expensive to build and maintain; for most SMEs, too expensive.

In a Web 2.0 era, with the proliferation of online channels, do we need to re-evaluate the concept of what a web site should be? Especially for SMEs, is it time for your web site (if you need one at all) to revert back to a simple online brochure informing people about your core products and services? Your efforts in building high value content, interactivity and functionality should focus on the Social Media channels where your customers already hang out. As long as you provide ease of navigation between your site and Social Media then there should be no problem.

Our colleagues in the web design/development industry may disagree, but doing it this way significantly reduces SME costs and provides much greater flexibility of response. At Energise 2-0 we don’t even have a web site and have no intentions of building one. This blog is our ‘web site’. Combined with the other Social Media channels we use (especially Twitter), we are more than happy with the value of the content we provide and the level of engagement with our network.

To illustrate, here is a great example of what we are talking about – the Ghosting Season web site at http://www.ghostingseason.co.uk/

Let us know what you think – is this the future of web sites? Is it time to Keep It Simple? What does this mean for the web development sector?

Take care

Jim H

PS – thanks to Vincent for drawing this ‘site’ to our attention

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4 Comments

  1. Craig McGill
    November 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    That website should be shot. Doesn’t work on an iPhone so does it work on other mobile devices?

    Also, even if I click on the wee link to the side, does it tell me anything about them? No. How am I meant to hear what they are like (so I can decide if I want to hear them/see them live?).

    Looking at it, the very first thing I see when I go to their side links is “BUY OUR STUFF” which isn’t exactly building up a relationship or being social is it? Yes, I can click on two links (via buy our stuff) to hear some music from them, but how about letting me hear that on the actual website? Lots of people now won’t even go through two links to hear the music. If they don’t see it right away, they’ll go away.

    Away from that site though, you make a valid point. However, this blog is more than just a blog. For a start, you have multiple pages which makes it a site and you have a formal URL (instead of one ending wordpress or blogspot or tumblr) which shows that you are being professional, so it’s a bit disengenious to say “all we have is a blog” though it is a nice bit of creative spin for you. :-)

    What we have to bear in mind is that, yes, lots of people use social media but lots of people don’t, so you need to have a quality website. Also, you want to have a good website – as well as social media presence – for good Google/search rankings.

    So a basic website? No harm in that – depending on who your markets are and as long as you are catering for them.

    But here’s the question: does your website drive your work? Does it bring the referrals to you or do you get work via other channels?

  2. Jim Hamill
    November 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks Craig.

    Agree with what you are saying up to a point. Yes there are some issues with usability and functionality e.g. in addition to it not being mobile ready, the FB and Twitter links don’t work on my laptop. However, you can access samples of their music easily using the sound cloud link. Also – in terms of their audience’s use of social media, i would be pretty confident that their target audience are all social media savvy.

    The point I was trying to make in the article is that many SMEs are still being given Web 1.0 advice re their web sites and e-marketing activities. This tends to focus all of their time, energy and resource on building the site to the detriment of other more social channels.

    In terms of your question, does our web presence drive work our way – yes and no. We use our blog and other social media channels (mainly twitter) to support our reputation built up on the basis of workshops, face-to-face contact etc. I have no doubt that it ‘drives’ work our way – indirectly but still very important.

    Take care and thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Good meeting last night, will fill you in on details later.

    Jim H

  3. Gerry Hamill
    January 30, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    An interesting article and highlights the dilemmas I have faced myself recently in reference to the creation of new websites for a variety of projects.
    Web developers do sell the idea of web sites self generating traffic and I can see the value in that obviously but I also feel there are opportunities not only to reduce the initial cost but also create an effective, what I’ve taken to calling for lack of another term, a hybrid site which does utilise its own URL but also allows for relevant, dynamic and fast changing content.
    The marriage between a website and social media is from my own perspective key to ensuring we stay in touch with a changing target audience. That said to dinosaurs like myself whilst its easy to recognise the potential there is to a certain extent a process of re-education involved.
    Your point re Web 1.0 device is I valid in my opinion. It would be interesting to run an exercise on the time required to get a classic site up and running from concept to launch alongside the resources required to start a hybrid site with devoted time to developing a social media strategy.

    • Jim Hamill
      January 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks Gerry (no relation) :-) – agree totally on your point re the need for education or as you call it re education in this area.

      I think your final paragraph hits it on the head. In my experience, web development projects always take an awful lot longer than initially planned – especially if run by a committee.

      I joke not – i was once involved in a web site project for a local destination management organisation that took almost 2 years to get live. The project was managed by a steering group which grew to 28 people – we had 28 conflicting political agendas. Yes, a good question to ask, would it have been better for these 28 brand advocates to have spent their time building brand advocacy on social media?

      Take care and thanks for taking the time to comment, much appreciated.

      Jim H