I’ve knocked together a quick and simple
acronym-based guide for developing a ‘web presence’. My new acronym is BPADCOSM –
a bit of a mouthful.
In reality, it’s nothing new and nothing
revolutionary – but I thought it was appropriate to come up with a nice,
memorable (?) acronym that puts everything in order. I think there is a
tendency for many budding website owners and operators to do the steps
out of order, which can result in costly changes down the track. Best
to get everything right from the outset by following the BPADCOSM steps!
BPADCOSM stands for: business case;
platform; architecture; design; content; optimisation for search
engines; social media and on-site content production; and marketing.
Why ‘web presence’ and not just ‘web
site’? A web presence
implies a wider existence on the web than just a website – for example,
many organisation now have a presence on Facebook and Twitter and these
act as an ‘extension’ of their websites. Hence, I use ‘web presence’
rather than ‘website’. In some circumstances an organisation’s social
media assets are more important than its website and this is likely to
become increasingly so on the web.
Here’s an explanation of the BPADCOSM steps:
STEP 1: Business
case – why get a web
presence in the first place?
This step is frequently overlooked – most
people’s mindset is: ‘I’ve gotta get a website for my business’ without
really thinking about the reasoning behind it. In some cases, it is not
appropriate for a particular business to have a website at all and the
money spent on a website could be better directed elsewhere.
In many cases, businesses hurriedly engage a
web designer with a portfolio of attractive websites to design something
that looks pretty. But ultimately the final website doesn’t achieve the
desired outcome because no thought has been given to the underlying
‘business’ needs (not to mention the fact that most designers know
little about copywriting, search engine optimisation and content
The business case should consider the
following three elements:
People – who
will you be targeting with your web presence?
Objectives – what
do you want to achieve through your web presence?
Strategies – how
will your web presence achieve your objectives?
This business case step is drawn from
Forrester Research’s POST methodology (see
for implementing a social media strategy, but it can equally be applied
to the development of a ‘web presence’.
STEP 2: Platform – the
foundation upon which the web presence is constructed
Like building a house, it’s necessary to
build a strong foundation for your web presence. If you get the
foundation wrong, then it’s mighty hard to dig it all up and start
again, so it’s necessary to think carefully about this step before
proceeding. The foundation stones include:
Domain name –
important to consider up front because it’s hard to change it later
on. The domain also has implications for search engine
eg. A content management system, email marketing software, dynamic
scripts, contact form scripts, etc
fast and reliable? Can it cater for the software required?
STEP 3: Architecture – how
it all fits together
Now we have a business case for our web
presence and the underlying platform upon which our base website is
going to be constructed.
It’s time to consider the components, assets
and functions that our website will contain, and where they will all go.
Information architecture –
how information is ordered and ‘discovered’ on the website; what
Pages and page hierarchy –
what content do you want to display and how will the pages be
Navigation structure –
top level navigation, subordinate level navigation, footer
Page elements and included content
(content that appears across the site) –
eg. News feeds, buttons, widgets, graphics, banners, columns,
textual content, etc.
STEP 4: Design – what
it looks like
Unfortunately, this is where most web
designers start – without thinking too deeply about the business case,
platform or architecture. Design is extremely important, but no more
important than the three preceding steps. In this step, we look at the
Corporate logo, colours, fonts and
HTML/CSS templates –
the ‘look and feel’ of the pages
Fixed graphical elements –
banners, page graphics
Rich and dynamic media –
video, Flash animations, etc
STEP 5: Content – what
people will read
Another thing that designers aren’t very
good at – copy writing. Compelling copy is critically important for
your website. And not just for human visitors, but also to ensure that
your website figures prominently in the search engines.
STEP 6 – Optimisation for search
engines – how the
website will be found
You can have the most attractive website in
the world – but in most cases, how it looks won’t guarantee a steady
stream of visitors to your site. Websites need to be optimised for
search engines so that your site can be found by prospective visitors.
Over 90% of web traffic in Australia is
referred by search engines, so it is imperative that your website
figures prominently in Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Optimisation involves:
Keyword analysis –
working out which keyword combinations people should use to find
On-page optimisation –
tweaking the textual content, metadata to ensure keyword relevancy
Inbound link building –
obtaining links from authority websites and thematically-linked
websites, providing the search engines with a ‘vote of approval’ for
your website and a subsequent elevation in search engine results.
Directory submission –
submitting your site to the world’s biggest and best web directories
Technical optimisation –
implementation of sitemaps, 301 redirects, etc – you might need some
assistance with this step!
STEP 7: Social media and on-site
content production – keeping
the website fresh
These days, it’s not enough to simply
publish a site on the web and just let it sit there. To maintain
relevance and ensure a constant stream of traffic, it’s important that
organisations use their website as a ‘channel’, constantly adding and
updating content. Organisations should consider:
News / article production –
regular contributions via a content management system
a simple way to contribute and syndicate content
consider a Facebook Page as a content delivery and two-way
consider a Twitter stream as a content delivery and two-way
Online video –
consider regular uploading of online video using YouTube or similar
And others… Slideshare,
Flickr, MySpace, Wikipedia, etc.
STEP 8: Marketing – attracting
Once your web presence is perfect, then it’s
time to start actively marketing the site. To this point, it’s best
that you don’t spend any money marketing. Only when you are satisfied
with the end product should you dip into the pocket to spend money on
advertising or other marketing initiatives:
Search engine marketing (SEM) –pay-per-click
advertising on Google or Facebook
Email marketing –
an often neglected form of advertising; it’s free and it’s targeted
Offline marketing –
traditional marketing channels if you have budget