Sometimes when you are looking for inspiration, it comes from the most unlikely sources. I have recently been reading Richard Dawkins The God Delusion, which (ironically in this case) is his thesis on why he believes that God does not exist.
Why is this relevant here? I hear you ask. Well whilst reading the bit where he is discussing morality and the atheist version of the 10 commandments, it struck me that the last five fitted perfectly with a strategy for managing a web presence. As they would say in America, ‘go figure!’
So here is the back end of his list:
6. Always seek to be learning something new. In the world of the internet the only thing that is guaranteed is change. If you’re not constantly learning you’ll fall behind your more active peers.
Whether it’s analytics, marketing, interface design, copywriting, social media or more technical disciplines, there is always plenty to learn. Pick something that interests you, that can add value and enjoy the experience.
7. Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
Software should be tested, everyone knows that, but do you objectively test the success of changes made to your website?
Being scientific about the changes you make is important, but more important is having the self -belief to admit failure in the face of the evidence and move on. Learn from your mistakes and try something else.
8. Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.
The web and more specifically social media provides one of the most powerful tools for getting access to your customers’ real thoughts about your products and services.
Use real customer feedback to refine your offer, improve your customer service and to become more effective at communicating your message.
9. Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others. It’s often attractive to seize on the latest innovation or idea in the hope that it will be the silver bullet to solve all your problems. However, it’s my belief that your online presence should reflect the culture ethics and ideas of your offline business.
Use your instincts to be selective in the strategies you adopt on the web.
That doesn’t mean don’t try things but instead understand how they will complement and reflect on the rest of your business.
10. Question everything. This commandment holds true for every aspect of business. If you’re not already doing this then you should probably hang up your guide and take up gardening.
So there you have it, five commandments designed for moral guidance that may have some relevance to success on the web. Alternatively you could rely on divine intervention!