Welcome to Association Insights
February 22, 2013
By Beth Brooks, CAE
At last! You know the feeling – the website re-design is finally a reality. We are very excited about the new look and feel of the site, and hope you will visit regularly for resources and updates.
With the unveiling of our new website, I will begin posting my observations here on a regular basis. For the past year the staff has heard my weekly comment of “I could be writing about this” when I learn something new or hear about what association professionals are dealing with. Well, be careful what you wish for…
In my position, I have a unique opportunity to hear what issues association executives are grappling with and where they are finding success. In addition, I have a wonderful network of colleagues (State Society Association leaders) across the country who I talk with regularly about industry trends.
So just like our new website, my “Association Insights” column will be written to help you get a better insight into our profession, keep you more engaged with TSAE and offer helpful resources. I hope you will visit regularly and share your feedback with me.
So, while we are here, let’s get started with something that is timely to both TSAE and many of our members - websites. Two weeks ago at our Marketing & Communications Peer-to-Peer, almost everyone in the room talked about how their association is involved in some phase of website redevelopment. That is just the new world we live in.
Our site had gone nine years without a redesign and was in dire need of one. The days of static sites with contact information, a calendar of events, and a few resources have long been gone, and for many smaller associations (including us), the website became a “MUST DO’ priority. After all, where is the first place anyone goes for information about your profession? Your website.
We hope our new site is proof that with professional help, a manageable timeline, and dedicated funds, a new website is within reach of any association. Josh Spradling, TSAE communications director, has been working on this project for a little more than a year and he has learned a great deal about this experience. Like many of you, we don’t have a web developer on staff so when the Board agreed that this was a priority we looked for experts to help guide us in the process. We wanted to pretty much start from scratch and build a new one. Of course, we didn’t have a huge budget, but we were able to find someone to work within our means.
After interviewing several companies, TradeMark Media was selected. They happen to be in Austin and Josh has had a wonderful working relationship with them. Our entire staff was involved in several discussions about the new site to provide feedback and wishes, but they did the heavy lifting. We learned a lot though the process and look forward to sharing it once we have time to reflect on the entire process.
If there is one takeaway I would leave you with it is don’t underestimate the need for professionals. I hear CEOs tell me regularly they are looking at updating their site and when I ask them who is doing it they tell me someone on staff. “Do they know anything about website development?” “No, but I am sure they can figure it out.” That is a concern to me – know where your team’s strengths and weaknesses are and how much time, willingness and experience they have. Josh will be the first to admit that he could not have done this by himself. We wanted our website to be a valuable resource for you and we look forward to your feedback.