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Part 2 of 2: Four Critical Success Factors to Greater Web Relevance

Previously in our two-part series on “Four Critical Success Factors to Greater Web Relevance,” we looked at the importance of knowing your web audience intimately and creating a web strategy with focus. The following factors are equally as significant in the minds of your end users and to you as well. As a daily challenge, let’s stop looking at technology and the Internet with fear and trepidation, but rather embrace it as essential to how we do life today. Because web technology is moving so fast, you cannot delay making changes to your online offering. Today, everyone must become faster and earlier adopters of technology and change.

The days of considering web content as text on a page are long gone. End users expect content in so many different forms. Different demographics prioritize particular types of content over others. The key to remember is that all content you provide is important content. Beyond words on a page, your organization must now consider the content quality of its blog, tweets, Facebook posts, promotions, and video/audio. There is a quality expectation for online content that is higher than ever. Your content must engage and relate to your site’s visitors in ways that earn their trust and respect. People are unforgiving when they conclude content to be irrelevant. The sober reality is that if you are not providing relevant content for your audience, someone else most definitely is. Following are things to focus on to improve the impact of your content…

+ Establish content standards that reflect the level of quality, continuity, consistency, and presentation excellence you and your site’s visitors expect.
+ Purge your content to exclude unnecessary volume and mass. Remember the impact of the “less is more” principle. People are moving fast, therefore, your content must be lighter and more on target than ever before.
+ Speak in plain English. Be inspired by the simplicity movement in communications… simple, short concepts that avoid sensationalism and wordiness. Focus on succinct, honest communication.

Web tools and Content Management Systems (CMS) that you were using just two years ago may be less efficient than newer solutions. In addition, there are so many new platforms to consider (i.e. social media, tablets, smart phones). In working with churches and ministry groups across the country, we see the pattern of churches holding on to their tool set and processes much longer than they should. We understand things are moving fast in the ministry world and to stay current on the latest trends and most relevant tools represents a real challenge. Our biggest disappointment is seeing churches in “the web rut.” They’re stuck or hindered by outdated platforms and strategies rather than being liberated and more productive with today’s best solutions and best practices. If you are using dated tools and methodology with your web site delivery, social media, pushed content, and media, it well be very apparent to your audience. People today are conditioned to seek, scan and quickly discern web relevance or irrelevance. So where do you begin with implementing smarter web tools? Here are a few questions to help you down the path…

+ Do you have a strategy for content management and the platform(s) you are using? Does your staff and congregation clearly understand the strategy?
+ Are your content management tools helping or hindering your ability to easily execute your communication strategy? Does your CMS allow you to manage content and content delivery with ease? Is your web tool set increasing your reach and visibility to larger audiences?
+ How many people subscribe to your delivered content or follow your organization in social media? Is it static or growing?
+ Does your website utilize share tools so more people can distribute your relevant content with their networks?
+ Do your web tools account for the growth and user expectations for smartphones and tablets? How effective is your presence with these rapidly growing audiences?

Your website will begin to move in a more targeted direction with greater relevance by prioritizing content, understanding your users’ expectations, executing a web stratetgy based on audience needs and implementing smarter web tools.

Remember, effective web communication doesn’t just happen. And it certainly won’t happen without continual change and an openness to “rethink.”

Right now, the digital movement is allowing organizations to be more effective and targeted, while multiplying its message reach. The stewardship and impact benefits behind the digital movement are exciting to consider. Are you on board? Or, are you watching the digital shift pass you by?