Charting the future of public relations
The demise of the static website
Aarti Shah
Holmes Report
COO & Senior Editor

The demise of the static website

Aarti Shah

In our in-depth content feature, we looked into how Coca-Cola scrapped its static homepage for an editorial platform that is constantly changing with new stories. In researching its site analytics, Coca-Cola found that most of its visitors were either investors or jobseekers -- prime candidates to hear the company's stories. "These are Coke fans, so why not give them good stories?" noted the company's digital director Ashley Brown. Now digital shop Beyond has been hired by Virgin to rethink its website -- with the question, with the rise of social media channels, do you even need one? "We used conversational research to develop a strategy and looked at white spaces for Virgin to communicate," said Beyond CEO David Hargreaves. "We have a clever piece of technology to help create a publishing platform for the brand in response to Virgin's desire to produce a world class publishing platform." The revamped site - which Richard Branson is said to be involved in - is expected to launch in Q3 and be a bridge to all of the Virgin companies. In this "every company is a media company" age, the static website seems antiquated, as does siloing all of a brand's content to a blog that's often buried beneath several clicks on the landing page. Also, from a cost perspective, websites built on the CMS model are easier to update whereas the static sites often require deep Web expertise for fairly minor updates. For instance, the Wonder Factory specializes in transforming static sites into content platforms (including having done this for Coca-Cola) and bills so that clients are only paying for the build. The idea being, the firm builds the content machine to be so user-friendly, the client can make all the updates on their own. Are we facing the demise of the static website -- or to Virgin's original brief -- are we on the cusp of homepages being replaced altogether by social channels? The latter seems extreme, but it seems we're certainly still trying to figure out what "homepage" exactly means these days.  
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