I responded to a remark made by a local business woman on an online referral forum. She had commissioned someone to build a website for her, it had been over a year and she felt cheated because that website didn’t bring her any customers.
My heart breaks a little when I read things like this, because as a fellow business woman, I know that laying out hard-earned money for a website is a big deal. The thing is, you never really know for certain whether that site has brought you business or not if you just leave it there, floating in web ether..
Here’s what I would like to share with you. Not all web designers are created equal. Some of them use very elaborate themes to build your site, others use one’s that are more akin to a color by numbers page. If you don’t know anything about websites, and you have your site built by someone who promises to build you a site and maintain it for $150 per month, you are going to get what you paid for. No, let me rephrase that, you are NOT going to get what you paid for. Because most of those offers will give you a really low price, but in the end, you don’t own your site, they do.
Should you decide to stop using their services, the site and domain name revert back to whomever built it.
If you have someone who has a background in photography, they will likely build you a beautiful site. Replete with amazing photos and graphics. And it will likely never show up on a search engine anywhere. Why? Because often that type of website person is mainly concerned with aesthetics. While that is important, what’s more important is having certain features, keywords, seo, categories and tags which will help Google and other search engines find your site.
When you have someone who is very technical build your site, you face the opposite problem. Perhaps the site is technically great, but it looks terrible, and even if it comes up on page one of Google, people who land on the site take one look and move away. Remember, we are becoming an extremely visual society, one must please the eye in order to draw people in.
I had several local business owners who begged me to build a new site for a great contractor who did wonderful work, but every time they tried to refer him business, people would take one look at his website and ask for a different referral.
What am I saying here? I guess what I am saying is this. Unless you are actively using your website, you don’t really know if it’s getting you business or not. You don’t even know if it’s driving people away from your business. I am also saying that it’s very important to interview potential website builders much like you would a person who is applying for a position within your firm. Ask about their back ground, their qualifications, whether the website will in fact belong to you once it’s developed.
And then understand this. That old saying you get out of life what you put into it, well that works for websites as well. Cheap is as cheap does. But even a cheap site can perform if you consistently and persistently post on the site and put effort into letting people know about your business.
Social Cindy, at your service.