I was speaking to a joinery business owner today about their telecoms and other services that they have, the conversation started to drift towards his web services and talking about the website that he has. The business has been running for 25 years, but they just recently launched their website last Christmas (Dec 2010), which they had paid about £100 for it. I had to ask this business owner for his web address so that I could check out his new website that he has just launched. The reply I got was not the one that I was expecting. I expected the customer to be happy and excited to give me his new web details. Instead, the response I got was "let's not talk about my website". You know me I wouldn't settle for such an answer, so we started talking about other stuff, and slowly got back to talking about the website, but every time we touched on to the subject of his website, he didn’t seem happy to continue with the topic and ended the conversation. Never the less we exchanged cards and continued with our day.
This started to annoy me, why someone who has just launched his website be so sad and upset about the site. So I Goggled his company name, and got his site up, the only reason I could think of why he wasn’t happy to give out his web details was perhaps that it wasn't up to his standard. The company has been running for 25 years, they are experienced in their fields, and they know their business, but the website was not giving this same message. The website looked more or less unfinished, with lots of information missing. At the end of the day, the customer paid £100 for this site, which looked like a readymade template, with his logo and few images added to it.
The customer may have got a good deal and paid extremely less for the site, but it hasn’t served its purpose, they might as well not have a website. If users were to find unfinished website, which doesn’t portray the right image of the business, would cost him at the end of the day. This was just damaging the brand, which took him 25 years to build. When you build a website, it's your business image, this is what the world sees and judges your services and products via your website. It is your shop window and you cannot afford to give out the wrong vibes out online.
Are you proud of your website?
When you are building a website you need to be proud of it, you are building your online presence. At times opting for a cheaper deal may seem like a good idea, but the product may not be up to the standard required, and this causes more of damage to your brand image than to benefit you.
Once you have decided that you want to have a website, you need to get passionate and excited about it, YOUR BUSINESS IS GOING ONLINE, get everyone in your office and team excited, get them to give their feedback, ask for their ideas. They are part of your company they will know your business better than the designers and developers, and you will get an honest opinion from your team members, the one that could benefit your business.
The next step to take is to do some research, choose a company that fits in with your business and the one you can work with. Look up at the reviews and feedbacks. Check out the other websites such as Which Web Design Company, Local Directories, Google, Yellow pages…etc to see what others have to say about the company you interested in.
Once you have decided on a company look at their work. Be sure that they are suitable for what you are looking to achieve. Do not just rely on reviews and feedback as what may seem to be good for one company may not necessary be good for yours. Look for designers and developers that know your business and industry, and the ones who can really portray this in their work, and bring out the true colours of your business online.
Have a clear and exact picture of what you looking to achieve, when you ready to meet up with the designer and development company. Plan your site on paper, take in account all the feedback from your office staff together with your own ideas. Therefore, you have a clear picture of what you want.
Once you have started work with the company, make sure to communicate and work closely with the team throughout the project, as this plays a big part to achieve your goals. Ensure that they listen to your ideas, your feedback, and involve you in all the stages of the project, as by having good communication you will able to come over any objections and obstacles that come up in the early stages of your web requirements.
The other thing to look at is also costings. When you building a website, it is like building a house from scratch, you can have a mansion of your choice, or you can build a nice cosy home. What you want is to build a home that will serve its purpose, which is to have a roof over your head, and have plenty of scope for building extensions around it. The costs of your website can start stacking up as you add various features. So best thing to do is to have a break down from your designer and developer of all the costs for all the features. Then you can refer to the list and see which features and modules are necessary for the business, and which to include to your site. I am not saying over pay for a website, but pay for quality and ensure that you get that quality that portrays the right image of your business online.
When your website is complete, and you have followed the above few points, you will have a product that you are proud of and you would want to show it to every single person you come across.