As Agentic has built its expertise in working with larger organizations, many items arise that are similar in nature. In many of our clients, the notion of a single website for their organization was something that they often started with in the past.
For example, ten years ago, many organizations did not have any websites online, and often struggled to create them. However, with the increasing use of online, many organizations that have started building websites ten years ago have actually radically shifted the amount and tenor of their web properties today.
In fact, for some of these organizations the notion of a single standalone website is not correct . In fact, it is a web presence or a digital footprint that more accurately describes their web strategy. For some of these organizations, having five to ten websites is not unusual. These websites form an ecology that represents their digital footprint.
This notion of an ecology must be recognized in their strategic approach to web development because it really depends on the interplay and interconnections between these websites. This interconnectiveness is key because of the way the web works - essentially a series of websites linked together. Having more than one website means that the kinds of links between sites really becomes important. A web ecology is the way that web visitors experience the organization online.
These kinds of projects involve some careful strategy. For example, many of the organizations create campaign websites that exist for a specific purpose and a call to action. These campaign websites, while they might be time limited in effectiveness, need to have some consideration for how a website visitor would find the campaign website from the main property of the organization, as well as how they would return. Issues of style, graphic identity, logo treatment and the precise call to action, all become important when thinking about more than the one website. Even keeping these websites all updated needs to be taken into account. Many of these websites do have a natural life and should be shut down once their usefulness has expired. However, this is not often the case. Dead links anyone?
Many organizations leave these orphan websites up with the hopes that it will convert traffic to their main website, or even worse, have just simply forgotten about them. Therefore, an effective web strategy around this notion of web ecology takes into account the natural life cycle.
Another aspect of the web ecology, beyond the websites that the organizations support directly, are also other websites of related organizations. Often, these links are on a page called “links”. This is not an effective way to leverage partnership and relationships with other similarly minded organizations. This ecology demands that partnerships be strategically oriented to drive traffic to and from the various websites.
Furthermore, the notion in a web ecology is the growing importance of social media. Social media is a key ingredient these days for engaging audiences. This engagement usually takes the form of developing, for example, a page on Facebook or developing a Twitter feed. However, these forms of engagement need to be also strategically developed in context of the web ecology that’s being formed.
A simple way that an organization can illustrate their own web ecology is simply to take a piece of paper and draw in the centre the organization’s main website. Next, draw different circles around that website to indicate all of the different properties and partners and social media sites that are involved with the organization. Then, it’s a simple matter to connect the various websites together, but indicate the how and the why on each of those connections.
For example, a website might have a main website that has a resource area. On that resource area, there is a link to another website that is developed to showcase a specific kind of resource. The links back and forth between these two websites might indicate the why the user might leave the website and importantly, how they might return. Even this simple exercise can radically shift the way in which organizations understand how their web ecology is important.
If your organization needs help in understanding what its ecology, digital footprint and web presence might be, please get in touch.