Image by pixel_bunny via Flickr
by Frank Reed
Today I had an epiphany of sorts. A revelation, if you will. The result of these great new truths in my life were the following; a panic attack, followed by a hypochondriac-type list of symptoms that can be attributed only to that harshest of all diagnoses: reality.
It was one of those days when you hear something in the morning that seems really important and almost random. Then you hear it mid-morning from another source that was unexpected. You start to suspect there might really be something to this but you shrug it off as mere coincidence. When you hear it again around lunch time, you really pay attention and consider that a higher power is work. Then it hits you like a fastball right off your melon–that this thing really is important and you have not given it the time it deserves.
What am I talking about? It’s a mission statement. Mission statements apply to all areas of our lives but let’s talk about it regarding business and, in particular, your Web presence. “What?” you say. You don’t think that having a mission statement for your Web site or blog is necessary? You think that your site is for information purposes only, so what’s that have to do with mission? You think that the “plan” that you follow is sufficient? Well, let me put it to you as gently as possible considering the time of year we are in: you are wrong.
I say this only because I realized even though my blog has a theme and I have plans about what to write, I have never truly established a distinct mission for the blog (other than helping the SMB market understand search marketing a little better, which sounds admirable, but is woefully under-developed). As a result, I can derail very quickly and have a case of “blogger’s block” because I am too wide open with my blog. Flexibility is a good thing, but being too flexible is a dangerous thing.
I have learned in the past that the best organizations each have clearly a defined mission that is the measuring stick for all actions they undertake. Sure, this is not anything new, but it is one of those things that can be overlooked due to being too busy and other things that happen daily. If everyone did this, we would see a lot of stronger companies that would not be in such dire straits even during the current economic climate.
So back to you Web site or blog. What is the mission? Is it to generate leads? Is it to sell product? Is it to brand you or your product? Is it a mixture of these elements? Whatever it is you need to clearly articulate it to everyone who touches your site, be it Web designers, developers, marketers, business owners and on down the line. They all need to know that unless every word, image, and call to action does not literally stink of your mission, then it will not be tolerated.
Why is this important? Think about it for a short second and you will get it. Who rewards a Web site that is focused, targeted, intentional and helps end users get the results they desire? Google. It’s pretty simple. Of course there are techniques that can overcome having a less than targeted presence including link building etc etc. Truth is, though, that the best way to attract link partners is to be a site with a mission around what you do best. A site that is clearly thought-out and laser-targeted is one that is useful. Google wants your site to have a mission, and you to be on that mission at all times. Rewards will follow.
I am going to be putting some serious thought into my mission. I want to emulate the businesses that I have seen that measure everything they do against their missions. These businesses then make decisions based on whether proposed action accomplishes their mission or at least moves them closer to it.
These businesses don’t get distracted by shiny objects or go down rabbit trails. They just succeed. Thankfully, after today it all seems so much clearer now and I can.