Tuesday, September 16, 2008
No, your website isn't limitless - here's why

People often get excited about the potential of their websites. After all, there are no page counts, no ad pages to balance, no word count limits, and there are all those fancy tools you can develop and incorporate into your site. Plus, you don’t have to get it to the printer by a certain date! And to a certain degree, they’re right – your website offers a lot more flexibility than the magazine.

But it’s important to remember that there are limits, and you do still have to prioritize and organize. Here’s why.

Your web staff can’t do everything right now.
Yes, in theory, you can put all of your archives online. And yes, it can happen very quickly. But it still takes time and effort to get that content on your system, secure permissions, find images, repurpose if necessary, and proof it. Make sure your staff isn’t drowning in production – it will make them very unhappy very quickly.

The web isn’t magic.
A lot is possible online. But not everything can be done, and a lot of things will require a lot of money and/or development time. If you want something that’s at all different from templates already on your site, it’s best to ask one of the experts if it can be done, and how quickly.

Not everything is a good idea.
It’s awesome to have lots of ideas for the website – the more, the better. But a lot of print concepts just don’t translate online, or the traffic may not be worth the effort. Definitely experiment. But trust your web staff if they tell you it’s already been tried – and didn’t work.

The bottom line? Have someone (or many someones) on staff who’s the local expert on your website, and keep them in the loop on upcoming projects. Check with them to make sure your ideas are doable. And keep the lines of communication open.

- Kat Tancock
About Me
Kat Tancock
Kat Tancock is a freelance writer, editor and digital consultant based in Toronto. She has worked on the sites of major brands including Reader's Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living, Homemakers, Elle Canada and Style at Home and teaches the course Creating Website Editorial at Ryerson University.
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