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October 25, 2011 / Steve Hennigs

Philippa Gamse’s “42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins”

Book: 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins

Not long ago I authored a blog post entitled Website Governance and the new Law Firm Website that generated a good deal of discussion in a few LinkedIn Groups.  One of the people who contributed to the discussion was acclaimed internet strategy expert Philippa Gamse.  We had exchanged comments through the LinkedIn discussion and she eventually reached out to me by phone.  As it turns out we are very like-minded in how we feel about website strategy.

Philippa has recently written a book entitled 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins and during our phone conversation she asked if I would read the book and provide my feedback in the form of a blog post.  This is a book that has already been endorsed by many people I respect greatly including Avinash Kaushik and Jim Sterne so I felt very honored that she would think of me.  Her request also hit home to a number of things I enjoy including reading, the web, and writing this blog.  After considering her request and all these factors it was a no brainer for me to take her up on the offer.

Before I dive into the review I do want to be clear that I am not being compensated for this review, nor did I request compensation.  With that out of the way here is a brief overview of what I pulled from 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins.

Who should read this book?

Before I started the book I assumed that this would be geared towards web people only.  I am happy to report that I was mistaken.  The book provides insight into how an organization’s website can impact the bottom line, why it is important for all departments to have a stake in the website, and how those with day to day website responsibilities can ensure the entire organization benefits from the online presence.

So my post read reaction is that anyone who works for an organization with a website should read this book.  It is a quick read and even though I am in sales at my organization, Siteimprove, I found a lot of interesting and useful information that I can apply to my job specifically.

If you remember website visitors are people and treat them accordingly you will be successful.

This was the most important thing that I pulled from the entire book.  I do not know if it was Philippa’s goal to convey that feeling but as I read through the book (and I read it twice) I kept coming back to this notion.  In Rule 26 “Show up and Be Real” Philippa states the age old adage that people buy from people.  If your online presence can make your visitors feel like they are interacting with the people in your company and not just a faceless organization you have a much greater chance of success online.  The book provides numerous valuable tips on how to make this a reality and it is for this reason more than any other that I recommend  reading this book.

Other aspects of the book I liked

Beyond the above paragraph there were a few other positives that stood out to me.  The rules themselves can serve as a bit of a checklist to evaluate your current website.  You can begin to get answers to questions like “Is my website serving my business effectively?”, “Are we leveraging data effectively to improve our website?”, and “Does our website need a complete overhaul or just a facelift?”  Just by having a collection of these rules all in one place can help drive awareness to potential issues in your online presence.

The final aspect I really enjoyed in the book was how Philippa was able to use her vast connections to industry experts.  Scattered throughout to book are mini case studies from people with real world experience in managing a winning web presence.  These insights really give some authority to why these rules are important and can help you determine what rules are important for your organization.

What this book is not

This book is not a detailed and indepth analysis of how to apply the concepts that are covered.  If you are looking for that type of book I suggest you locate literature dedicated to the specific topic you would like to focus on.  This book is a quick read with some great tips and insights to get your organization headed in the right direction when it comes to your online efforts and because of that I do recommend that you pick up a copy.  Awareness of an issue is the first step to resolution and this book can help create that awareness when it comes to your web presence.

I want to thank Philippa for reaching out to me and providing me the opportunity to review her book.  You can find out more about Philippa and her work through her website  If you have a book you would like me to review you may reach me through my Twitter handle @stevehennigs or through LinkedIn.  I believe I can provide insight on the topics of sales and the web.

I would love to hear feedback of others who have read the book or your thoughts on the post.  As always, thanks for reading!

Image courtesy of Google Images

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