A weekend away from London (and an insight into how a large business approaches its online activities) identified some interesting, if bizarre, practices that I'd now like to share with you.
I found it astonishing when I learnt that key individuals (in charge of the company’s web presence) in the department knew nothing about their own website or what the term SEO meant. Even worse was the fact that these key individuals were taking agency recommendations (they outsourced the running of their website to a 'specialist digital agency') without thought or question to the implications or costs.
I then discovered that one of the company’s websites had a content management system (CMS) which the company didn’t have access to. In other words it was only accessible by the agency - therefore guaranteeing the agency's ongoing involvement and complete control of the website.
Irrespective of size, if a business is going to have a CMS and/or employ an agency for help online there are some basic things to consider which will mean you as a business retain an element of control and aren't at the mercy of the 'experts' sitting opposite you.
1) A CMS allows you to make changes to your website's content - and quickly. Even if someone else is to help with new content for the website, having access yourself is a strong recommendation. What would happen if the relationship between you and the agency broke down?
2) Read up a little on key topics. If you're looking for SEO services go into the meeting knowing the basics otherwise you're likely to have little idea of what's going on and the value of what's being suggested.
3) Get a second opinion. There are so many different options available and each agency will have a different way of approaching campaigns. All reputable agencies will be happy to discuss your website with you – offering you their opinion with feedback on your website – with no obligation to work with them. Why not take the time to contact a few and see which one fits best with your business.