You have decided to take the plunge and get a website for your business.
Your son’s friend does websites and he won’t charge very much because all you want is a couple of pages with your contact details, a few pictures with a bit of text about your products and services, and some testimonials.
You are quoted a fee, you pay the deposit and he tells you that your website will be ready in a week.
What could possibly go wrong?
After a week, you politely follow up and you are told that he has been very busy but is sending you the draft layout the next day ... which he does.
You are so disappointed. It is nothing like what you had in mind.
As with so many relationships in life, it is all about unmatched expectations.
Your web designer has taken your idea for a simple website literally. A standard template, no customisation other than changing the colour scheme and swopping the template logo and pictures and text for your information.
From having given him free rein with the design because you told him you know nothing about websites, you are suddenly an expert.
You have chatted with friends, family and colleagues and everyone has an opinion. You don’t want the logo at the top left, you don’t like the standard fonts and you want a different colour background.
Actually he hasn’t put in your logo because he was waiting for you to provide it. You assumed that the design of a logo was part of the package. He also doesn’t know what your company colours are, because you don’t either. You have never done a proper branding process for your business.
You are very busy running your company so you don’t have the time to write the content for the About Page, find the testimonials and get details and images for your site. If you are lucky enough to have an assistant you delegate these tasks to him or her.
Now, instead of the web developer dealing with one person, 2 or more people now have input into what the site should look like. A recipe for disaster. The developer is assured that the assistant is now the interface person and the project starts to move forward. Until of course you decide to take an interest and overturn the assistant’s decisions and decide that you will re-write the content.
The web developer informs you that there is going to be an additional cost for the changes and you feel cheated. In your opinion the changes are minor and should have been factored into the quotation.
The web developer being young and inexperienced was probably desperate for the work and had under-quoted and has now run out of money and is chasing other work to keep afloat.
Stalemate and you are both unhappy.
How Could This Have Been Avoided?
- Your website is the face of your business and no matter what articles you read or what anyone tells you, there is no such thing as a simple website that will do everything you want. Your company is unique even if you sell the same products as millions of others. It is your brand and if you are going to have a website make sure you invest in the time to plan it properly.
- Make sure you understand the geek speak. Spend time with the developer discussing what you like and don’t like. If s/he offers you a package deal ask to be shown exactly what is included and what is not.
- Look at your competitors websites and see what they are doing well and badly.
- Set aside time to get the information required for your web developer. The content, images, logos, colours, testimonials. This takes longer than you expect especially if you don't have your brand clearly defined.
- Have realistic expectations of what you can afford and be prepared to either spend the money or start small with a proper website framework that you can grow later.
- Understand that you will need to pay monthly (or annually) for the hosting of your site, support and updates and website security just as you need to keep your Smart Phone updated.
In our "Optimise Your Online Presence" Workshops we cover the above and much more.
You might also like to read about The Myth of The Free Website.
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