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A Fresh Definition and New Way of Thinking About Your Website’s ROI

By Erin  |   Website Improvement

lettering: ROI with pennies in background

Today I'm expanding just a touch on a recent blog post about perceiving websites (as well as essentially all other parts of our lives) as processes instead of things, and I'm doing this by sharing a strong, unhealthy pattern we've seen in our clients' thinking over the past decade. 

And this trend has to do with ROI.


ROI stands for Return on Investment. 

Not surprisingly, and although the tide seems to be turning within the past couple of years, we’ve found the majority of clients think about the “I” in ROI as being a monetary investment, end of story. However, we've seen clients experience an exceptionally stronger return when they expand their definition of investment beyond money.

I is for involvement, too

Hands down, clients who are more involved in their websites' design, development, and ongoing maintenance experience phenomenally better results than the clients who simply invest money into these processes.

This is because a powerful, effective website is the result of synergy between a strategic web company and an involved client. A web company can’t possibly know a client’s industry, customers, goals, challenges, etc. as deeply as a client does—but that web company should be able to collaborate and work with a client to unearth these things, analyze them, and make smart website-related decisions based on what’s been found.

Without client involvement, which can come in the form of collaboration, input, feedback, communications, interest, etc., a web company is left guessing, making assumptions, and making decisions in a vacuum. The end result is typically OK, but rarely phenomenal—and it's nearly impossible for it to be anywhere near its potential.

A story of a client with “Low I”

Once upon a time in a land not very far, far away, we had a client for whom we developed a long term content marketing strategy.

The strategy’s purpose was four-fold:

  • to increase search engine rankings
  • to bring existing and potential customers back to the site on an ongoing basis
  • to position the client as an industry expert
  • to promote the client’s approachability, friendliness, and generous personality.

Unfortunately, the strategy ended up experiencing lackluster results—but not because of poor planning or execution. 

You see, though the client wrote a check and made a financial investment each month, he didn’t prioritize involvement.  He resisted having any involvement in the process.

- He didn’t have time to be interviewed for blog posts.
- He didn't have time to share his expertise or unique insights that we could weave into new content.
- He didn't provide feedback on the content that was generated. (In fact, it was rare for the client to ever review the content at all.) 
- And he didn't wish to participate in monthly or quarterly check ins, nor discuss the results he was and was not experiencing.

This complete lack of involvement translated into content void of the client’s character, blog posts void of the client’s unique expertise, and occasionally even content that wasn’t 100% on target (as no feedback or input was ever provided).

Without involvement, the client’s return on his financial investment never came close to its potential.

The moral of the story

The moral of the story here and today’s lesson is easy. 

To experience the greatest possible ROI (Return on Investment), remember that the “I” goes beyond monetary investment and requires your involvement as well.

Plain and simple: A website designed, built, or maintained without your active involvement is a website that’s not living up to its potential and that will struggle to deliver the results you’re hoping for.

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