This new site has been a long time coming. You might recall, my company purchased a training firm at the end of 2008. I’m sure many people thought we should have updated our website then – incorporating the new training offerings. But we wanted to wait and see exactly how the new programs fit into our business. We knew they were good, but wanted to present a cohesive offering of training programs.
I’ve been through several mergers and acquisitions in my career and it’s one of the things I learned along the way – don’t rush to make changes. Talk with the new team, use the new products and services, plan the proper way to integrate the best of the best, THEN take action.
Whenever you work on a big project, there are always some takeaways. Here are the ones we learned along the way:
Decide the purpose. Our very first company website was nothing more than an electronic brochure. Very little interaction took place. This site incorporates pieces of HR Bartender, our ITM Group Twitter account, an updated contact page and ability to sign up for our quarterly newsletter.
Build a good foundation. In designing our new site, we did something different by using a blog platform. This is becoming a very easy and affordable way for small businesses to create and maintain a website. We use WordPress for HR Bartender and decided to do the same for ITM Group. WordPress is used by over 14% of the 1,000,000 biggest websites.
Know what you want. The good news is there are lots of options when designing your website. The bad news is there are lots of options. Everything can’t go on your website. You have to pick and choose what should be highlighted. In our case, the company we acquired had over 30 established training programs. We decided to profile the ones that clients request most often – Essentials of Leadership, Six Principles of Self-Management, Coaching for Performance, etc.
Be open to suggestions. I know this might sound a little contrary to the last point, but it’s okay to change your mind. For example, we weren’t initially fans of including the ITM Group Twitter feed. But the designer put it up there and suggested it. It kinda grew on us.
Plan for small set-backs. We had the typical challenges with managing deadlines and changing personnel. Nothing bad, sometimes it just happens. Be prepared to deal with little hiccups along the way.
Have a communications strategy. Launching a new site isn’t easy. You have to communicate with designers, copywriters, hosting companies, customers, etc. Keeping communications at a high level will help the project roll out successfully.
And one last thing about communications. While repeating yourself about some topics is good; repeating yourself on everything can be boring. We’ve planned our strategy so you will see some things on both sites but not everything. I hope you like the new site and connect with us over there as well as here on the blog.
Thanks for supporting us. Cheers!