Who Owns Your Homepage?

Who owns your company homepage? The answer matters because it could make or break your business.

Backward Gun

This week AOL appointed former NBC Universal exec Chris Grosso to the newly created post of “general manager of the Homepage.”

I was intrigued by this announcement. Not because of AOL’s decision to appoint Grosso, but because his title underscores the respect and authority that any homepage deserves.

Homepages are the virtual storefronts and front desks to so many businesses. It won’t be long before no business can survive without a meaningful homepage.

Which is why it’s shocking that — even in 2010 — so many homepages are sloppy, neglected and mismanaged. I see violations across all industries, from advertising agencies, to law firms, manufacturing holding companies, financial services companies, CPG, high-tech and even interactive specialist firms.

A lot of people think homepages don’t matter that much. But they matter a lot.

In this hyped age of social media, syndicated content and apps-are-alive-and-the-Web-is-dead bologna, it is still your homepage that is the most reliable and potent online application for your business.

With few exceptions, the homepage lets you be discovered and found more than anything else in the digital world.

The homepage both reflects and forms your business’s identity. It increasingly sets message and tone for all other presence.

The homepage is where high-intentioned customers and influential stakeholders go when they want “the source” or “the information of record.” It is where they go when they want to “check you out” and verify that you are legite. It’s where they go to obtain answers from real people at your organization, to find out what you sell, or even to get your phone number and physical location.

The homepage is also the one place on the Web where you have complete control to attract, filter, engage and measure your stakeholders on your terms, with great precision.

And because it’s the one high-profile place where you have complete control, it’s also where you’re judged with most scrutiny.

It’s one of those places where you can do really well, or completely blow it.

And that’s why every business homepage needs a general manager.

It should not be a hobby or an afterthought.

It must be a strategic priority, passionately owned by a senior-level executive.

This also was my latest column in MediaPost.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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