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Web sites change the way an organization communicates with its staff, customers, investors and the general public. A change in communication is a major shift for the organization. To effectively implement such a change will take time. You need a five-year plan for your Web site.

Let's dispel a big myth—that the Internet is changing so fast, it is impossible to plan for.

That is absolute rubbish. Just how exactly has the Internet changed over the last eight years? Sure, it's much bigger. But how has it changed structurally? Is the Web site of 1997 radically different from the Web site of 2003?

We're still using HTML. We're still using hyperlinks. We're still using text and simple images. If anything, the Web has become more homogenous.

Have a look around. A great many Web sites now use the three-column layout. Black text on a white background dominates.

Where is all the multimedia? I saw more Web sites offering video in 1999 than I do today.

Why? Because it didn't work. Do you really think an investment analyst is going to watch a tiny, choppy video of a CEO discussing quarterly results? They'll scan the transcript, read the press release, ring someone up—it's much quicker.

We live in a world where a manager can order more stock on his wireless device as he sits in the bathroom. But the same manager is so busy acting tactically that he has no time to plan for the long term. And then the lights go out.

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image of Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern (gerry@gerrymcgovern.com) is a content management consultant and author. His latest book is The Stranger's Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online, which teaches unique techniques for identifying and measuring the performance of customers' top tasks.