What is a website anyway?

Everyone knows today that you need a website, but we forget to ask ourselves why we need it, and how we can use it to get where we want.

I love the Internet and I love the possibilities we can create by building digital worlds to connect to one another and to exchange services. But as long as it’s only those who can handle the technology who can sell and shop online, things are not entirely fair.

Your company needs a domain, web hosting, an advertising agency, web development, CMS, updates, plugins and then to be active in the whole social world of Twitter, Facebook and so on. A host of complications, and you still have to find the time to sell your product.

From my background as an Art Director with major advertising agencies both in Sweden and abroad, I have learned that the customer – usually the marketing manager or CEO of the company – really only has one problem they want help with. They want to create a relationship with their customers.

This places great demands on their digital world. For me, a website is the digital core of an organisation. It is your business hub that simplifies everyday life and where you collect your customers, talk to them and do business in real time online. A digital office where you meet with your clients every day. There is no difference between small and large companies. A CEO of a small company and a marketing manager with several employees in their marketing team both have the same incentives to monitor and keep track of the customers they meet, upload a video on the fly and respond quickly to their needs.

It's easy to turn  to web design companies for help, who will charge a lot of money to create a website with the right design and strategy for you - but the site is very difficult to update, because it’s too complex. Another extreme is to design and build your own website using templates and anonymous themes that you can easily control yourself. However, to create lasting relationships requires much more than either of these two options can offer.

I believe that everyone that runs a company should manage their own business hub in real time on the Internet, and that it's up to us designers, programmers, SEO and social media experts who work for entrepreneurs to simplify things and be there to help so that everyone, regardless of age and the requirement to be technologically savvy, has the ability to meet and respond to their customers digitally, using entirely visual methods. 

Photo: Ryan McGuire

Ditte Hammarström has a background as an art director at advertising agencies both in Sweden and UK. She is passionate about user-driven design and to help entrepreneurs succeed online. Ditte is one of the founders of Snowfire design community, where agencies and developers collaborate on the Snowfire platform to help businesses grow online.