Identifying Your Digital Maturity: From Youthful Adolescence to Scholarly Adulthood

Each step in maturing a website is a must. Remember in the days of your adolescence? adolescence in the late 80’s for me was full of life and adventure. But when I look back at those family photos, I find it embarrassing. Why is that? Why would anyone be embarrassed at who they were?

Step 1: Adolescence

Information based, static content, minimal metrics. Establishes credibility, doesn't draw leads.

Would you rather skip adolescence? Would you rather skip the first launch of your website and just launch it three iterative steps closer to maturity? I would have said yes. But is this wise?

Early on, we had protection with being around mostly our family and a smaller sphere of friends. Our influence was small, so we had an opportunity to learn, have fun and ultimately grow.  If you’re going to make mistakes (and you will), make them early on. If you’re going to forget to learn of your target audience’s pain points, then realize it quickly and learn quickly so you can grow quicker.

If you skip the adolescence step of a website, you’ll realize later on, much later, that your business is failing because of a few critical mistakes that were never uncovered early-on. Taking small steps towards a larger goal is very wise advice. You’ll grow quicker in the end if you taking steps and not leaps.

Just like you may look back at the start of your website. Perhaps the tagline was off and mistargeting customers. Perhaps the colors were less refined than you’d have liked. Perhaps the content did not speak.

For example look at Apple’s first website, what do they sell? And Amazon, what’s up with the river of books? Some other examples include TheFacebook and Twitter. Take a look below at some screen captures of these major business’ first website!

Step 2: Young Adulthood

Bringing insight -- Analytics, social media -- but little wisdom in how to string all these together.

Remember when we were all young adults? We wanted to reach out and connect with others. We wanted to see what the world can offer. Just like being a young adult, a business’ website reaches the same stage. Where, we want to reach out and connect with others digitally. We want more leads coming to our door step. Now we are connecting with others in a slightly more coordinated method. But we don’t yet know what works. Tactics in this stage aren’t cohesive, nor are they sophisticated.

Step 3: Young Family

Figuring out what works and doesn't.

We aren’t mature yet–but at least we realize it. We may have finally realized that the world isn’t going to offer us much… Rather we have so much to offer the world. It is more fulfilling to give than to get.

Just like those sentiments, a digital website should be serving the customers. It should be helping the pain points of customers and leads. The website should be addressing and anticipating customers problems. At this stage, a business learns how best to nurture leads.

Step 4: Nurturing Adult / Family.

Attracting, and building brand advocates

By this stage, we are attracting leads to our site. We have reached these leads by numerous methods: print media, social media channels, blogs, newsletters, etc. They’ve been drawn to our site in hopes to solve their problem. We resonated with their problems and we can help solve those problems.

We have retained their attention. Perhaps they’ve used our services already. Perhaps they have returned several times. We are now engaging them digitally on a regular basis. We are on the cusp of turning them into a brand advocate.

Step 5: Scholar

Making life long partners.

Now that your website is helping your target audience (addressing their problems), knowing who and where your audience has been on your website last week, a month ago; knowing what devices that they are using to view your website; knowing that they are receiving emails and being reached on social media channels with the exact information of their interest. You now are converting customers into lifelong brand partners.

Now that you know where you and your website stand, feel free to comment below (tips, advice). If you’re ready to take the next step, but need some hints, the comment section is open to you as well.