When I started the company in 2004 one of the first things I did was buy the www.integrateit.net domain (.com was already owned). Shortly after making the purchase I thought to myself, now what? I am a company of 1, I don’t know how to develop a website, and honestly who in their right mind would care about me or my company enough to want to look at my website?
Nevertheless I contacted my trusty go to web developer, my brother Tim, who was the cheapest guy in the business at the time (free) and had him whip something up for me and develop a company logo (The same company logo that we use to this day and I actually REALLY like and have gotten many compliments on through the years). The website he developed was one that I thought was very professional looking (he would argue differently probably in hind sight) and it served it’s purpose at the time. That purpose you ask? To show that we existed….nothing more.
Times have changed though as we have grown and I have seen the purpose of our website evolve through the years. Once I started hiring on actual employees I immediately realized I needed a way for them to enter their time that was a little more cutting edge then the pieces of paper I was having them use at the time. It was at that time that my other expert developer Melissa took over and developed our intranet which included a place for us to enter time as well as store important documents our employees would need. This was the first time that I would consider our website to be functional.
Shortly thereafter I would meet with potential new hires and they would say to me things like “I was checking out your website” or “I noticed on your website that you offer…” and it then hit me that the website also needed to be a marketing tool for the benefits that we offer and jobs we are trying to fill because potential recruits were going there to check us out before interviewing with us or even contacting us to get an interview.
Today we have hit a whole new arena of use for our website and that is to market us as a company. I have been lucky to do some work with some very large companies over the past few years and often in my meetings with them they will say things like “I saw on your website that you guys worked on ….”. That first time I was told something like that I can remember getting out of the meeting and thinking to myself…OH MY GOD, I don’t think we have updated the content of the website in MONTHS! I was mortified thinking what this company must have thought as they perused our website filled with outdated content. Real professional. As a result we have now placed someone in charge of content of our website for 2012. His role is to ensure that we always have current content on the website for when new companies or perspective employees head there to look us up. He will also be responsible for our Social Media presence (which I will address in a future post). Also, in 2012 we will be completely redoing our intranet because the architecture that we developed it in has been outgrown. That’s right, we have grown too big for our intranet and need to redo it so we can continue to grow without crashing our own intranet.
The moral of the story here is that no matter how small you are there are going to be people checking you out on the web. As you grow, the importance of that website will grow as well and the purpose of the website will change. If you don’t keep up with the times and update your website you may lose out on a recruit, or a meeting with a new partner and the worst part is you may never know about it.