A few years ago, one of my clients made a major change to his business structure during the course of our website meeting. The company was split into two major groups. Knowing that I would need to properly account for the two groups on the website, I asked a simple question. “Why aren’t these two groups combined?” My client didn’t have a good reason for his company to be split in two and made the decision right there to combine the two groups into one.

These types of decisions actually happen quite often during my meetings. In order to determine the layout of a website, I must understand the organization. I end up asking simple questions about the organizational structure. Oftentimes, these questions have never been asked. If it’s just the way it’s always been done, it might not be the best way.

Websites are inextricably connected to the business, school, or organization. In fact, the success of a given website is dependent upon knowledge and clear communication of these items:

  • purpose
  • audience
  • goals

If these items are not clear within the first 5 minutes of a meeting, I know it will be difficult to create an effective web presence for a new client.

I once sat in a meeting where three members of a very popular Atlanta organization sat around discussing the purpose of their organization. There was no consensus and I was becoming extremely confused. I finally asked for their elevator pitch, a 30-second overview of the purpose of their organization. They couldn’t do it. I finally had to tell them that I could not assist their organization until they had a clear understanding of their purpose, target audience, and goals.

Website development requires knowledge of a number of technical skills. However, in the last 8 years, my business education and work history have actually helped me more than any of these technical skills. I often wonder if I should have gotten a counseling degree as well, as most of my client meetings end up being business counseling sessions. I relish that role and love assisting clients with purpose, target audience, and goal development. If I can assist a client with these items, it makes my website development work much easier and much more effective.

Erik Rostad

Author Erik Rostad

Erik Rostad started EPR Creations in May 2008. He works with universities, international organizations, and executives on their online presence.

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