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Web Design Help

More than likely we referred you to this page before our initial meeting, another webmaster has directed you to it  or somebody with a computer who had dreams making money slapping up pages built you're first site and somebody sent you here. (this site has never been optimized or registered with the search engines)

If you are hiring someone to build your site or doing it yourself, you really need to take the time to read this.

It is not difficult to put up a web site. For the most part it is technically easy. The difficult part is determining what the goals of your site will be and implementing objectives to obtain those goals.

Do you really need a web site? In a lot of cases the answer is no. You may just want one. If you are a small business and want to compete with the Web big guys - forget it. They'll simply out spend you,  sell their  product cheaper then you can buy it.
But  you can still make money, increase sales, promote your business, increase customer satisfaction and make a little money!

If you own a small beauty salon and want to sell products on your site and make a living at it - no, that's not going to happen. But you can direct your customers to the web site so they can become familiar with your staff, view hair styles, find out about your business, you can offer online products to current customers as a convenience, newsletter promotions. Your business cards and advertising include your site address. You can keep your customers up to date, start a mailing list, have online presentations (newest styles - prom updates), your employees each have an email address and the site may even become cost efficient. What's more new customers will feel at ease - you become familiar and friendly.

Goals and objectives

Over the years we have designed many web sites for businesses, large and small. Most just thought it was a good idea to have one "Corporate Presence", and "Oh, I like blue buttons, We want lots of blue buttons!".

So lets be realistic. Here's the facts:

If you want a successful web site you need clearly defined goals and objectives. What do you expect the site to do for you and what you're going to do to get there! Not only clearly defined but "Quantitative".


You, an employee or a professional can design your site and it can still turn out to be just an expensive eyesore. So if you are about to re-design or have a new site created this may help.

 An "If that's what they want that's what they'll get",  attitude may cost your company thousands. Most companies hire a web designer and immediately tell him how to do his job. Be careful - you may get exactly what you ask for. In most cases that's exactly what happens. The site is designed to the companies specifications with lots of input from the part time, in-house web expert. Most developers may know the site is not going to be productive, but will take the money and run.

If you have hire a developer with that attitude, It may take months before you become frustrated with the sites progress (by progress I mean toward the goals of the site, not the way it looks).

Instead of waiting months, calling for "the" meeting of the company's CEO and staff, and having to call in a new developer who produce a 10 - 20 page presentation with charts and statistics showing the current site is poorly designed, why it cannot beat the competition, be properly registered, properly displayed, why visitors are not staying, etc.  Do it right the first time.

Make sure the developer provides statistical comparison to the competition's sites and has a clear quantitative marketing plan. If he doesn't (even for a small business), get another web developer.

Authority must be commensurate with responsibility - Don't let your staff direct the operation then blame your developer if the site fails to meet it's objectives.

A note to the CEO:  This happens all the time. If it does happen, don't blame your employee, you let it happen and more than likely he has incorporated "your ideas" into the site. Your employee has limited experience, knowledge base, and no motivation to tell you that your ideas or his bosses are in left field. (You and your employees may have designed a shinny new race car, towed it to the track, but no one put in an engine or transmission).

The look of the site is should reflect your business but it is only a small part of your marketing plan(compromise) - It's the stuff you don't see that counts.

How do you hire a web designer?

Here is what should happen:
Once you or your representative contact the web design firm or independent designer, he should start compiling data about your competition and your current site. He should start doing research. He will use diagnostic tools to find out who your competitors are and examine their sites technical construction and content. The designer should also be studying the product and terms.  When he comes to see you, he should know a lot more about your business on the web than you do.

What normally happens:

A friend of a friend who is "a wiz at this stuff", will meet with you and members of your staff, and you will tell the so called wiz what kind of site is wanted, all the pretty colors and buttons you want . Your in-house marketing expert will offer his philosophical dissertation and it normally it takes an hour or so, for everyone to throw their "I Think", in. You will want to leave now, because you see your employees have the situation under control.

Don't, I'm about to save you lots of money! Everyone is done tooting their horns for you, It's time to do business.

A professional developer has years of experience, uses thousands and thousands of dollars worth of equipment and software, to analyze, develop and market on the internet. He will not use the words, "I think", in any meeting related to the development of an online marketing strategy. Recommendations must be based on accurate analysis of statistical data.

The designer should then make recommendations and ask questions - lots of questions:

Will we just be putting up a site or maintaining it?
What is the goal of the site? (remember quantitative)
What materials does the company have (video, photo's, ads, manuals, logos, etc.)
Is the site to be maintained after it's functioning (a site is never complete)
Will I be providing tech support to their web visitors?
Who will be the company liaison (contact) and what authority will they have.
Do you want to include search engine registration?
What is the budget allocated for the site?
Is there a deadline?
Will personal be allocated for customer support?
Live presentations?
How will customers pay?
and on and on....