If there has been a major theme within my consulting business in 2010, it hasn’t been social media. That may be a surprise to many people given the buzz about social media and how it is being increasingly embraced.
But, by far, the most popular request from clients has been the creation of new or refreshed Web sites, which not only includes design and development but new content, including videos.
My take is many companies ignored their Web sites during the economic boom because why changes something when you don’t have to do it. But now that the economic landscape is still volatile and the Web has become more important as a communications, marketing and sales vehicle, many companies have decided now is the time to refresh and update their Web sites.
At the same time, many customers want more control over the look and feel of their Web sites. They don’t want to depend on a Web developer to make small changes and, as important, get charged for them. This is why we have been building most of Web sites using WordPress because it gives customers control over content – something they have been enthusiastic about.
Given this approach, it was interesting to see the Yellow Pages announce plans to build Web sites for smaller clients as the company attempt to drive more digital revenue.
From the outside looking in, Yellow Page will build cookie-cutter Web sites for small businesses that have more to do with being Google-friendly than have great design. This approach is good if you want a functional Web site but probably doesn’t do much if you’re looking for a Web site that really engages visitors. Then again, many businesses don’t have Web sites so the Yellow Pages is probably a good way to get started.
“Artistic value doesn’t rank very high – doesn’t rank anywhere on the Google algorithm,” said Yellow Pages CEO Marc Tellier in describing the company’s approach.
For many companies, this cookie-cutter approach is fine but from what we’ve been seeing, there are lots of companies looking for a high-quality Web site that does more than appeal to Google’s algorithm. As well, a compelling Web site is more than having some widgets and a few pages, it also needs good content.