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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Here is what should
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.
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?
How will customers pay?
and on and on....