As an agency we like to challenge our Clients; this often means asking them to question their assumptions. An ever changing digital landscape gives us plenty of opportunity to suggest alternatives to what they sometimes assume is the obvious solution. With the growth of the semantic web, it may soon even be worth asking some Clients if they need a website at all.....
In the hypothetical example of a Publican as a Client (which I have yet to have the pleasure of) I might point out the following to him:
Let's take a look at typical user behaviour and start with a Google search - "pubs near bath". The results page for this can be seen below.
At the top of the page are the results driven by individual Pubs' Google + pages. These results include information such as location, opening hours, customer reviews and contact details. It's absolutely essential for a Pub to populate their G+ page with all of this information. This is plenty of detail for a large part of your audience to make initial contact with you without needing to click through to visit your website.
Further down the page there are results for directory websites such as The Good Pub Guide, TripAdvisor.co.uk and VisitBath.co.uk. These seem like excellent resources for finding the best Pub in that area, so are absolutely essential for updating also.
There are also some listings for individual pubs, but unless they are specifically what the user is looking for, is it likely that they will choose to click here rather than on one of the other options mentioned above?
Beyond the Google results page there are many other databases serving results to a number of platforms. Another example is with Apple's Siri where voice search queries are met with answers driven by databases such as Yelp. A Siri search for "pubs near bath" gives the result below.
Although just a hypothetical example, it is clear that Clients need to think about more than just their website presence. With the growth of Google's Knowledge Graph, Facebook Graph, Siri etc. understanding the data that sits beneath the web is becoming more and more important. You will of course need a website for the foreseeable future, but don’t forget about all the other ways of getting relevant information in front of your digital audience.