Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa


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Who's Minding Your Web Site?

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Most association executives are quick to say, Check out our Web site, but few really know what their Webmaster does; what is and isn't included within their Web site; and that their Web site for the most part is boring and lacks creativity. An association's Web site is its window to the world, open 24 hours a day, and every visitor is a potential customer with whom to do business. The major goals of your Web site are to capture your audience, establish a relationship, and capitalize on the marketing possibilities.

A well constructed Web site that is updated regularly keeps both members and visitors coming back and has the powerful marketing potential to produce revenue generating opportunities: memberships, publications, conferences, exhibit sales, and sponsorships.

Ask yourself, What was your Webmaster doing two years ago? More than likely he or she was doing a job quite unrelated to the skills of a competent Webmaster. Accept that your Webmaster, while technically competent, lacks an understanding of business, marketing, and editorial skills. Few Webmasters constantly communicate with the association's marketing and editorial people.

Can your association pass a basic Web site test?

  • How long does your site take to load? Everyone is impatient when using the Internet. Visitors become unhappy when they are finally welcomed by a cluttered home page.
  • Does your home page have a hook? A creative and unique hook immediately welcomes and reaches out to the visitor and directs them to information or solutions to their visit or hit.
  • How easy is your site to navigate? Minimal thought often goes into constructing or laying out a Web site. Consider how your favorite grocery or department stores display its merchandise: In an orderly fashion to keep you there longer and to produce sales. Most sites need more departments so the visitor does not have to search and search and search.
  • How difficult is it to access information? The information most frequently requested via telephone calls and snail mail is often buried and difficult to resurrect.
  • Who in your association has given thought as to what you want your visitor to see on their visit? Your Webs site is your showroom to showcase and market your wares.
  • Does the editor of your publications proof your Web's copy? Most Web copy is not reader-friendly: poorly written, run on, and in too small of a font.
  • How creative is your site? Most sites lack of creativity, often using bland rather than vibrant color.
  • How well does your Webmaster understand relationship marketing? Very few do, thus lost marketing opportunities of new members, conferees, publication sales, exhibitors, and sponsors.

If your responses to these basic questions provoked some thought, then you need help! Fast!

Today's association executive needs to appoint someone within as the Director of E-commerce or Vice President of Web Strategy. The qualifications of this person must include an understanding of your association's marketing goals and business strategy; a knowledge of your members' priorities; and a team orientation with impeccable communication skills.

Dr. Elliott B. Jaffa
(703) 931-0040