If you’re searching for a company to create a website for your business, shopping by price is the dumbest thing you can do. Keep reading to find out why that statement is true while simultaneously letting this article make you money.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to use the blanket term “web design” to mean the design of a website (graphic work), and to a lesser extent custom programming, and a touch of Internet marketing.
Hot Web Design + Great Internet Marketing = Your Website Makes You Money
I honestly do not believe that most businesses realize how much work goes into building a high quality website that makes them money.
Why bother having a company website if you don’t let it present you as an outstanding company to do business with? Serious companies should take their websites (and Internet presence) seriously. I frequently field inquiries from a range of people who either get it or don’t.
Clients Who Don’t Get It
Unfortunately, I get many calls from people who just want to have a website to check it off of their list of things to do. These individuals often treat it like a chore, don’t really want to learn about the possibilities that await them in the Internet world, and yet expect results beyond reason. These people are often in a rush and don’t realize what it takes to professionally achieve what they want.
A typical “rush” call goes like this:
Potential Client: “I need to launch a website that has to have full e-commerce capabilities, a little flash, and [insert 1990s-style, gimmicky item here]. I need it by next week.”
Me: “No problem! Call my competitors. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help you!”
At which point they’re blown away that I’m not jumping all over the project. Why would I be? The person has made it clear that he doesn’t know what he wants, doesn’t appreciate what it will take to get the job done, wants it done in a week, and lacks the understanding that without an Internet marketing component, the website isn’t going anywhere. I’ve been down that road. I’ve been doing what I do since the 1990s and I can tell that without these points, within a few months of launch, the client would cancel the project anyways seeing as how they didn’t get a return on their investment.
Not to mention that clients in a rush are often the worst to deal with because their disorganization somehow becomes your emergency and stress levels go through the roof. Who needs that?! I want to sleep at night, stress-free.
Clients Who Do Get It
I work with many companies (of all sizes) and organizations who understand their business, truly want to make a profit and recognize that the Internet is an advertising source that does not offer guarantees but can be extremely lucrative. The ones who listen to my team’s advice typically generate the greatest return on their investments. Coincidentally, these same clients are those who have a viable business model and are ready to work on and invest in something of high quality.
In other words, these clients understand that working with a team of professionals who are open-minded, very experienced, and can answer difficult questions with honest, detailed answers on the spot and/or make corrections and adjustments quickly, is invaluable.
Working WITH Clients
On the other hand, I also get calls from many excellent companies who are very professional and working together, we get the job done to everyone’s satisfaction. That’s why I do what I do. I’m not here to nickle and dime every last cent out of my clients for the services they don’t need. Rather, I’m here to do what I enjoy doing, excel at it, and help clients get the most out of their Internet marketing investment. A large, important, yet far too often overlooked part of that is the design of the client’s website.
My services are specialized. Rushing and bargaining only serves to demonstrate that as a potential client, you do not see the inherent value that I bring to the table. As one of my clients, Gerard Nierenberg (Forbes calls him The Father of Negotiation) has taught me, business relationships can be about everyone winning. They don’t have to be a one-up scenario. I have adopted this attitude into my company policies. I work with clients on a win-win basis. If you want a cut above and see the value in it, you should be prepared to pay for it. If you want the lowest price for any garbage that can be produced, go to my competitors.
Web Design is Not a Chocolate Bar
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a commodity as “a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price.”
As a serious company, you can’t treat web design like a chocolate bar.
Web design is not:
- A low investment (of time, finances, etc)
- An easily bought and sold item
- Decided through spontaneity and whims
- Something you ask your cousin’s friend to do for your business for $100 because he knows how to use MySpace
Web design is:
- A process that involves a strategy (if you intend to make money with your website, directly or indirectly)
- A talent that requires experience
- A demonstration of true understanding of your goals (when done properly)
- An important part of persuading clients to buy from you
- An understanding of themes, colours, fonts, screen sizes, browser compatibility, usability, function, coding, and more
While surfing the Internet, every single day you land on websites that are either ugly, difficult to use, don’t appear trustworthy, make it difficult to find what you’re looking for, and generally make the process unpleasant and frustrating. Further, in many cases your searches require a lot of digging through search engine results pages to get what you want. That’s because far too many web designers miss the mark. In fact, most don’t even know where the mark is. Instead they shoot in the dark and hope it works.
For example, a website that is designed for a cosmetic plastic surgeon should be “soft” in feel whereas a machinery parts manufacturing plant website will likely have a “rougher” feel to it. It typically takes experience to get the balance right but either way, launching a random website where the generic design could represent any business by simply changing the logo isn’t necessarily the best way to go.
These Can’t Easily Be Bought & Sold With High ROI Potential
A professional will take the time to listen to your needs, generate ideas that you haven’t thought of, and provide a cohesive plan of action.
Your friend’s daughter who completed her degree in fashion design should be able to design your website because she knows about design, right? Wrong. The smartest clients understand that designing for a website is nothing like any other form of design. You may be great at designing dresses, houses, hotel rooms, brochures, or even logos, but that doesn’t automatically qualify you as a competent web designer.
Let’s face it. The majority of websites have a dated, ugly design to them. Yes, I’m a bit of a design snob but even looking conservatively, most websites don’t work nearly as well as they should to sell your brand, products, and services. Quality web design is typically produced by quality web designers. People with real skills charge real prices. If your budget is a few hundred dollars, hire a freelancer and don’t expect an experienced company to do the job for you.
Analysis of the Big Picture
The ability to look at the big picture is invaluable. Your neighbour’s son, a high school student who dabbles in “web design” doesn’t even come close to understanding what your short- and long-term business needs are.
Do you want your questions answered? Do you want to wait for that answer? It takes a LOT of time to learn about and experience all of the issues that arise when developing a website. Years, in fact. A real business will be ready to pay for instant access to answers to important web design questions.
Hiring someone without proven SEO experience is a big mistake. Do-it-yourself turnkey operations are popping up all over the place promising instant riches and easy money for all. Read some of the truth about SEO and SEO business mistakes.
Code: HTML, PHP, CSS, Jquery, Ajax, APIs, Etc
Is your web designer still building an entire website in HTML tables? That’s old hat. New technologies have emerged and CSS is where it’s at for styling a website. If your website was built in the last couple of years and its basic structure is tables, you’re missing out. You see, it takes time and effort to keep up with the trends in this industry. Most business people aren’t expected to keep up, but we are. Experience and knowledge are easily upgraded.
A company that’s been around for years is more likely to be able to manage your website than a freelancers who are often overwhelmed with work or underwhelmed and have to take a second job (meaning no time for you).
Stiffed on Domain Names
Don’t trust the guy in the apartment next door to register your domain name for you. He’ll be gone before you know it and you won’t have any way to contact him. Trust me – I’ve dealt with this exact situation at least a dozen times. Wouldn’t you sleep better at night knowing that you own your domain name and that it’s not at risk?
The best web design companies are businesses just like yours and deserve to be paid accordingly.
Anytime there is a market for cheep goods, you will find a lot of suppliers willing to fill the need…that’s what happened with the web to a certain degree. It has become a commodity for those who want to buy it like that.
To many entrepreneurs, the website is just another check on the checklist and they buy it like they buy their yellow pages add…Come on, don’t make me think…I just want to make you a small check and be on my way…a normal cost of doing business…Oh and by the way, can you make the letters blink!….
There is still much evangelizing to be done…I guess we will have to wait until nothing else works before entrepreneurs wake up…
There are still many opportunities on the web to be had as the first in the business with a reasonable internet strategy…(not if you are selling sex or poker however…) but many markets are still ill represented and just begging for a pro internet team to tackle…
Now…Guess where the yellow pages sales people are recycling themselves? Yes! They sell websites…
.-= Serge Lachapelle´s last blog ..Stratégie internet – Pourquoi avoir un blogue dans votre domaine d’expertise =-.
Very well put, web design and seo must work hand in hand in order for the actual goals of the client to be met ie. making more money and their roi.
I wholeheartedly understand where your coming from. I think with the recession come unrealistic expectations from us designers. I simply refuse taking on cheap jobs.