Having your own business means taking control of aspects you often never imagined you'd get involved in. Web design for example is a classic case.
As a web designer I've worked with people who both take control of the design aspects and those who leave the design to me.
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
To date I've yet to work with a company that "takes control" that has not made alarming content and design errors. Fortunately in most cases I've been able to gently talk them down from the ledge. But it's never a sure thing.
As a designer the customer gets what they want. Even if what they want is going to lose them business in the long run.
Why is Taking Control of Your Website A Bad Thing.
There's only one reason. Lack of expertise. In this case yours.
When is taking Control of Your Website a Good Thing
There's only one reason. Lack of expertise.
Every web designer started somewhere. And I know of no web designer that was perfect the first time around.
But take into consideration that my first website ever. Ranked number #1 for years, for a highly profitable keyword! The companies website became the sole source of new leads and the company grew year in and year out.
Why? because I had a background in public relations, I was personally acquainted with the business the website was for, which means I knew who the customer was and what they wanted. And I had been doing the companies printed and email marketing for years.
Not every new web designer comes from that sort of background.
It's possible that you as a business owner might observe that your web designer does not understand what it is you represent or your online goals. At that stage you need to take control and turn that web designer into a pixel pusher.
Will the end product be everything you wanted in the beginning AND generate the leads you anticipated. Possibly not, but weighed up against the alternatives, and it's better to take control than to leave it and sit with a mess.
Bad Reasons for taking Control of your website are:
Keeping costs down. That's the number one reason a website performs poorly.
Ideally you would have someone like me on the payroll. A graphic designer, marketing expert, business owner, website designer and developer. All that person does day in and day out is increase your exposure on the internet.
Ideally your monthly financial plan sets aside 13% of gross profit, every month for advertising. Your online marketing gets a portion of that and you have a marketing strategy where both your printed and online marketing works hand in hand.
In this scenario there are no surprises. Your costs include a monthly salary and you know that your advertising will not exceed 13% GP. Marketing strategies work around the current scene (current gross income). Business expansion is measured by statistic and there is a fair amount of certainty that business expansion will occur over a period of time.
In addition your business sales and production staff are fully integrated with the marketing and advertising that's on the go and utilizes quality control and after sales service. In other words your business is geared towards making your customers journey, everything they expected and more.
You run all the needed activities by statistic both weekly and monthly and handle problems before they impact on the inflow of new business.
However this ideal scene is seldom or if ever in place.
The normal scene is that marketing and advertising is relegated to having a brochure on hand when needed. Sales staff answer phones, prep quotes, and visit clients. If things are going really well you spend money on lunches and the occasional expo. Marketing and Advertising becomes a part of the Salespersons job description.
In reality there's no one steering the ship. No one plotting a course and directing everyone's efforts so that goal is achieved.
Even when you hire a Manager, their job then becomes similar to a policeman's where they are pushing salespeople to produce. Making sure that Facebook is not being accessed and that telephone calls and petrol kilometers are really for business use and not private use.
The Reason Behind Cost Management
Anyone who signed a blank cheque for web development would be a fool. On the other hand expecting to get everything you need to grow and expand your company in a pre made format is simply not possible either. What I'm talking about here is expecting to get a quote up front.
But that's what happens.
Why, because there is no course plotted, no goal set, (see Bad Reasons For Taking Control Above) which means that there is no one steering the ship. All it does, is go wherever the waves and the wind push it while everyone is very busy pumping the bilges keeping the ship afloat.
You see another ship here and there and they say "Ahoy Matey" "We have a Website, You Need One Too, You Cant Survive Without One" and off they fade into the distance.
And so it came to be that you discovered that a website could make life easier. For very little effort you could have customers knocking on your door, instead of you knocking on theirs. But, you detected a big scary problem. This was not an off the shelf solution. It was custom!!! and the costs were all over the place.
Long story short, this led to web designers coming up with set amounts. Web designers have to eat too. And they'd rather sell you a single patch for the holes in the hull than no patch.
Yes there are other holes in the hull and you still end up going around in circles working day and night to keep the ship afloat. But at least you have one less gaping hole to worry about.
The next best solution is to go for the "custom" website, but sit there like a hawk making sure not one extra little thing is added to the job spec that increases the costs.
Then what happens is the website works, meaning you start getting more business in through the door. Things get a bit easier. You can hire more crew to pump the bilges. People can now get eight hours of sleep as opposed to four. There are more smiles, life is better.
But that was the wrong thing to do, the right thing was to buy more patches for the hull. ie expand more, get even more clients. And to do that using what worked in the first place. Your website.
Once a ship is floating now you can plot a course and steer it.
5 Top Mistakes Business Owners Make with Their Websites
- Buying a website off the shelf. Going out, having a look at a site and saying, mmm that looks good, I want that one.
- Using the website to promote your own brilliance and service excellence and then styling it up with your own unique design sense.
- Having no system in place to share and analyse sales leads once the website is up and running.
- Leaving the website, not maintaining the spam filters or adding new content.
- Having no other marketing or advertising in place and or not aligning your other marketing or advertising with the website.
Professional Web Designers are Competent
The whole point of marketing and advertising is expansion. It's not about making money and damn the client. No, its about growth. Marketing is insightful and inclusive, for that very reason it is a key part of upper management.
Web designers are often not considered to be in this inner circle. Yet a good web designer will often be very interested in this part of your business, understanding as they do, that if they correctly portray you and your strengths and tactfully avoid showing up your weaknesses, while at the same time phrasing your service or product in a way that appeals to your customer, that ultimately you will flourish and prosper.
Ideally you would keep your web designer on speed dial, you'd bring him or her in on the monthly or quarterly reports, sit and set goals regularly.
Yet in all my years I've never heard anyone give credit for their success to their web designer. In fact I've only ever once heard a client bemoaning the loss of their web designer. Why, because the designer created a website that brought in tons of leads. Years later when a problem cropped up, the lady couldn't find the web designer again and got someone else to do the website. The leads dried up and her business bombed out.
If you're interested in finding out more about how to maximize your websites lead potential.