Over a quarter of a century after Tim Berners-Lee’s extraordinary invention of the World Wide Web, it has become clear that the space occupied by websites in the world has had an intoxicating effect on societies across the globe. As a blend of scientific computer systems with media and advertising – sitting somewhere between the IT Crowd and Marketing’s Mad Men – websites bring the rational and emotional together, allowing organisations (and individuals) of all shapes and sizes to grasp opportunity for growth and change – some with alacrity, many with difficulty.
In more than 15 years of producing websites for clients, I have found that projects almost invariably open up much more than expected within an organisation – frequently, a “new website” project becomes a trigger to further business development: working out brand proposition to the market, re-thinking operations, reorganising departments, understanding audiences. A company’s website is the place where everybody – customers, suppliers, employees, potential employees, shareholders, potential investors, the media, competitors and government officers – will do at least some of their fact finding about your organisation. And more recently, it is the place where they choose to do business with you also.
The opportunity to present your organisation to the whole outside world, and then invite them to interact with you online, demands attention to detail and substantial investment inside the organisation to get the benefit of having a successful website. While websites can be and often are created by one person, or a small team, using minimal resources, their success usually depends on a team effort, with contributions great and small from everyone. Maintaining momentum to keep working on a website requires a cultural attitude that values the website and recognises its importance, preferably lead from the top.
The past 3 months has seen drastic changes in marketing patterns, most notably in an increase in online sales and interactions. So, while I have been told many times that websites are easy to create – that they will soon be able to be created by Artificial Intelligence, that the cost of creating them will plummet, and that there is no need to hire developers – I stand by the need of professional website design and build services at a time when they have never been more important, and I look forward to the next 25 years of continuing expansion and development of the website, as it undoubtedly continues to be at the forefront of how human beings around the world are able to collaborate ever more closely.
You can browse the first ever website at http://info.cern.ch.