Web sites have taken priority position in most company’s marketing arsenals. And for great reason – they provide a dynamic, agile and accommodating portal for marketing and promotional use. Web sites also provide function and integration that assists in every-day operations. So, it’s no surprise that a bit of a struggle exists between who drives Web site development. Below is our biased view on the subject. Truth #1: Your Web site is likely to be the primary or most exposed element of your company’s branding efforts. Truth #2: We’ve all cringed while entering Web sites that unfold with unsightliness -drawing prejudicial conclusions about the quality of products/services available from those companies. Truth #3: We’ve all been frustrated when visiting alluring Web sites that look great, but don’t deliver on convenience and results, and leave us confused about how to think or feel about the host. When you analyze the source of the problem with these types of ill-performing sites, your conclusion has to be that the Web site was developed without solid marketing communication objectives. There can be no other answer. This brings us to our final truth – to the premise of the article. Truth #4: Your Web Site Is A Critical Marketing Tool. Treat it as such! ALL marketing activity in your company should be based on, linked to, steeped in, and driven by business objectives. If those business objectives are the criteria for your marketing communication plan, and the Web site is a critical tool in your mix (which it is), then the actual driver for your Web site development is your marketing communication plan, and the specific strategy and initiatives that determine the functionality of your Web site. The Web site needs to be designed and developed in light of the integrated marketing activities in which it plays a leading role. If you are considering splitting responsibilities between a Web development firm (for the Web site) and a marketing firm (for other marketing initiatives) be prepared to be stretched as a manager. It can work, but it will not be easy to maintain a focused direction. Your Web site should always be developed with the requirements of the entire organization in mind – key leaders from all departments must be involved in complex Web development projects. Likewise, if you are simply adding functionality for the benefit of a segment of the company, i.e. literature fulfillment or financial processes, then company marketing standards simply need to be implemented, and using a Web development firm or contractors is probably sufficient. Remember that your Web site’s quality and effectiveness depends on multiple criteria including design, content and messaging, ease of use, funneling, speed, navigation, functionality, etc. Realize that it takes a strong plan in order to achieve all you can from your Web site. Then, treat it as the critical marketing tool it is.