One of the things that most clients know the least about is the process and the costs involved with building a proper website. The key word here is ‘proper’, because the Internet is flooded with people and companies who “make it easy to build your own website”. Likewise, a lot of SME companies have a kid in the IT department who will tell you that building a site is a piece of cake and so they let him try it. And finally there are the hordes of web design companies who will show up at your office with a laptop full of pre-formatted site models and get you to pick one, never noticing that your eyes tend to glaze over very quickly when confronted with a decision like this.
I have been involved with the original design, writing and implementation of close to 100 sites and can tell you three things about this process.
- Most people start their website project in the wrong place.
- A surprising number of people think they can write their own content and most of them cannot.
- Anybody who does 1 and or 2 invariably ends up with a site that: a) probably does not function correctly, b) is in constant need of repair or upgrading, c) confuses their visitors or d) does not communicate their message effectively.
At the end of the day, the costs involved with building, repairing, renovating, restructuring and often totally re-doing a low grade or do-it-yourself web site can often turn out to be greater than cost of doing it right in the first place.
Not A One Person Operation.
The right place to start building a proper website is by developing a website strategy. Because a website is very much like a marketing program and you wouldn’t start one of those without a well thought-through strategy?
A creative person or team should work with you to plan the strategy, design, map the navigation and create the content for the site, all with SEO kept very much in mind. In tandem with this, a decision needs to be made as to which platform would best suit the site and give the it functionality it needs to be effective after its on line. And in today’s cyberspace, the whole concept of mobile and tablet applications needs to be factored in. Because, like it or not, that is where customers are headed or are already there.
Once this is all decided, a web developer is brought in. This should be a developer who is chosen for their ability to program the site to the required specs and layout, to respect the design, content and navigation, generally have a good design sense and be someone who gets things done efficiently.
This developer will work with the creative person or team to make sure the site ends up being both well designed and highly functional.
We have oversimplified the process here to some degree, but you get the basic idea. If you go direct to a web site implementation company, you are leaving out two very important, make-or-break parts of the process. So you might end up with a site that functions well, but could be lacking in design quality and content persuasiveness, both of which are the key elements you need in order to get people to visit, interact with and respond to your site in the first place.
It’s A Jungle Out There, And A Very Messy One At That.
To see how chronic this problem of bad websites is, all you have to do is pick a search area and look at the sites you find there. A lot of them are cookie cutter pre-formatted sites or awful looking, badly written home made sites. And the vast majority of them will be either broken in places or badly in need of upgrading. Relatively few are what you would call really first class on every level.
What you are seeing there is a classic example of the 80-20 rule in action. Bearing in mind that, in the long run, creating a badly designed, poorly written, low functioning site will probably end up costing you more than doing it right in the first place, why would you want to be in the useless 80% when you could, by being smart about it, be in the Top 20?
Something To Think About.
There are a number of studies that have been done in both the UK, here in Canada and in the US that point out that consumers in both B to B and B to C areas are judging businesses and actually making purchase decisions based on the design quality and content of the company’s website.
A little scary isn’t it? But it’s definitely something to think about.
If you’re starting a website project or thinking about revamping an existing site, we should talk. I have the strategic expertise and the highly qualified and affordable recourse people to make sure your site ends up in the high end of the top 20.
I create and implement strategically focused
branding, advertising & promotion for companies
who appreciate solid creative thinking and value reasonable rates.
Download My Ebook,
‘Small Business Communications For The Real World’