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Do not go cheap on web site design and marketing

By: Christine Tagnani at Spotya Web Design

Submitted on Fri, Nov 2nd, 2007 12:00 am

Two things:

Firstly, "You get what you pay for," as the saying goes.

Secondly, there really arent any short cuts when building your online enterprise--none!

Building your online enterprise requires a proven team of web savvy experts that will drive your enterprise into the future. How can you identify them?

A quality web design firm will have an obvious passion for their chosen field, with a drive to see their customers succeed. I've seen so many honest people get ripped off because they were motivated by cost. What they end up doing to satisfy their need for an online presence is to turn to a family member or close friend to design their web site. Nine times out of ten this ends up in disaster. Another strategy is to try and find some $199 website company which ends up giving you a template that half the world owns. You also end up with a website that you have virtually built yourself. But worst of all it wont generate one nickels worth of new business. Furthermore, you will never get the customer service that you really need to build your online enterprise from a $199 website company.

Let me take a moment of your time and give you a few tips: Tips that will save you some real grief if you want to use the Internet to start or grow your business.

1. Set goals for your website and plan your marketing campaign. Ask yourself, do I need an online business card or a web based enterprise? Am I going to have a website for promoting products and services or for e-commerce? By the way, if you are being charged less than $4000 for an e-commerce site and that's cheap for a virtual store with full shopping cart and online payment facilitiesI would rethink my investment.

2. Create a budget. This won't be easy--since you can find web designers that will build you a web site for anywhere from $500 all the way up to $20,000 plus. And thats not to mention some of the junk web sites you can get for less than 200 bucks.

Websites are like a lot of things. In most cases, the more you spend, the more you'll get.

That doesn't mean you should throw money at your web site and marketing campaigns unwisely. There are still some great values to be found if you do your research. There still those opportunities to get a champagne website on beer money.

Let me give you an example.

We got a call a short time ago from the owner of a trophy company. Both she and her staff had very little overall knowledge about using the Internet as a primary sales tool. But she knew how to do her homework. And she had created a team around her that had checked out what other web development companies were offering . Her team had done their research. In my view, they left no stone unturned.

And of course they checked us out thoroughly. We spoke so many times I thought we had the account, only to find out they were continuing to review and confer among themselves.
Well, we eventually got the account. I really had a deep respect for the way they handled things, even though for a while there I was a little frustrated. But the only time I really thought they went wrong was when they gave me their budget. In no way would we ever take advantage of that, but I do think so many others would have. To get as much for your buck as possible let the supplierthe web developer---define both the cost and what you are getting. We know what we charge for services and we have no problem giving an estimate. No one has to tell me what they're willing to spend.

3. Finding a web site design company. Do your due diligence. There are so many companies to choose from, so shop around a little.

Ask questions like: Does the company answer their phone during work hours or do calls go to voice mail? How fast do you get return phone calls or emails?

Check references. Most companies have portfolios on their web site. If they dont, maybe that should be a cause for concern. Call them and get a reference. Dont just ask for a list of references and think you have done your due diligence. You can also ask for a list of customers that aren't present on the website. Never do business with a person or firm that you don't have a connection with. The firm or individual you'll build your online enterprise with needs to be a trusted member of your team. They will become part of your extended business family. It is absolutely critical that you get along and that you will be able to have an open, honest relationship with them. Nothing is worse than a close relationship that causes conflict: Especially a high tech company that doesnt take your ideas into account.

The bottom line is ...you're the boss.

4. Remember your website is about you and your company. It should have your personality and ethos all over it. Your designer should be a guide to help you achieve your look and style because this is your brand that is your window to the world.

Dont be indulgent though. Keep in mind you are in business to please your customers; that is number one in the design process. In other words dont have a thumping audio file on a site that is selling health care for seniors no matter how much you like heavy metal music.

What benefits and services can I provide my clients? And how can I best convey my message by Inspiring, educating and informing them?

A quality design team is always in a balancing act because we must please you - our customer and also your clients. We must respectfully bump heads at timesits just part of the process. If it doesn't happen, we're not doing our job. If I know something will not provide the best for you and your clients and I put it on your website only to please you, I would be doing you a disservice. That is precisely why design and marketing go hand in hand. My advice to you is this: find websites that give you your look, style, color, and navigation and use those as a model for your web designer.
While looking for your models, don't think you need to stay in your industry. You're looking for models. Your website will look nothing like them when complete.

For example, when I design a Real Estate website I always look at Interior Decorating websites.

Also provide your web designers with your competitors' web sites. This will always save time and will eliminate much of the learning curve. Remember, your design and marketing team will be an extended business partner, and the team you have on your bus is what will drive you to a successful future.

5. Strategy is everything when choosing a web design firm. Yes, the right choice will be able to design and build a dynamic online presence that gives every visitor a rewarding experience. And just as importantly theyll help you set your goals and give you a plan to economically drive visitors to your site. I have found that companies that build and market your website usually are the best bet. Web Design and Marketing go hand in hand.

6. Most web designers want to throw out lots and lots of high tech words like algorithm, optimization, PPC, SEO, and many more. They think that you don't know what the heck they're talking but youll be impressed. I've been guilty of this very thing. Its just so unnecessary. Tell your web designer to say exactly what he means. Ask him to explain the benefits rather than give you industry buzz words. Again, do your research. In fact, if you have to keep asking what do you mean-- they're probably not the ones for you. A professional web design marketing firm will explain every step of the process. The professionals should empower you, so that you can make informed decisions.

7. Don't deceive yourself into believing that building an online business is some quick way to success.

Yes, there are some incredible advantages to taking your business on the World Wide Web. But let me caution you-- it is like so many other businesses, it will require your time, resources, and most of all, patience.

There are no quick ways to the top.

The quickest way is to build an awesome team around you, and it will first start with your web design and marketing team.

8. The proposal is everything.

A professional proposal is the key to the start of a successful Internet enterprise.

Trust me: I am still a guy that likes doing business on a hand shake. But when it comes to doing business online, I make absolutely sure that all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted. I make sure that my vendors and partners answer their phone and I have their cell number if I'm in a pinch. All of my clients have a way to get a hold of me in case they have a problem that cannot wait.

We have no problem empowering our customers at SpotyaWebDesign.com.

We are constantly informing and educating our clients. Some of our clients just cannot afford ongoing management of their site so we teach them how to manage their content through our content management system (CMS) that we install in all our sites. Everything is yours once your website is paid for; pass codes, source codes etc. are given upon request.

Don't get me wrong, we dont do web design and marketing by committee. And we do make a point of providing our customers with the information they want, upon request. We do however reserve the right to request that our customers find another web master, web designer, or web marketer if we arent the company that can provide the best service. It has only happened twice and those customers were left on our web site for potential clients to get objective testimonials from, because they went elsewhere with our blessings. And from what we have heard, even those customers have given us a good referral. We have never lost an order because of it.

Finally, don't hand-over money until you have a written proposal that defines what you are getting. The proposal should have a list of goals and deliverables. Its usually true, the better the proposal, the more professionally you will be taken care of.

So do you see a trend here?

Use common sense when choosing a website designer and marketing team!! Don't be motivated by cost only. Do your homework.

About the Author

Christine Tagnani
Spotya Web Design
At Spotya Web Design we want to build more than your web site. As a full spectrum Internet marketing agency, we really can help you build your business. We are a team of professionals. We use our Internet marketing skills, our creative copy writing competence, our web design artistry, technical proficiency, the latest platforms and a deep commitment to you, our client, to maximize the commercial benefits from your online enterprise. Our goal, our mission, is to optimize the Return on Investment from your online enterprise by ensuring that every visitor to your site has a rich, rewarding experience, that flows from the design of the site and the internet marketing techniques employed. We are a team of professionals. We use our Internet marketing skills, our creative copy writing competence, our web design artistry, technical proficiency, the latest platforms and a deep commitment to you, our client, to maximize the commercial benefits from your online enterprise.

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