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What If Your Website Was a Real Salesperson?

By: Brody Dorland at Allure New Media, LLC

Submitted on Thu, Mar 20th, 2008 11:32 am

In todays business environment, every company needs a website. And if youre a small business with a limited budget, a low-cost solution may be tempting. But what if your website was a real-life salesperson? Would your lack of investment in them set them up for failure?

Im forced to use this analogy more than I would like these days. While I cant do anything about the people/companies that offer so-called high-quality website development services for dirt cheap, I can try to help small businesses understand why you need to make an appropriate investment in your 24/7 sales workhorse.

You Get What You Pay For

Developing a high-quality website from scratch requires most, if not all, of the 10 services listed below. Completing these tasks can be very time consuming and they require a lot of creative and technical talent. So how do the cheap service providers charge so little? Simple. They dont offer many of these services

1. Website Strategy Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
Like any successful marketing initiative, proper research and planning need to be the first step. Getting website marketing experts involved early on will give you an outside perspective and help you profile your audiences, define their needs and adapt your corporate growth strategies to the web.

2. Content Strategy Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
Once you have a good handle on what your customers need, your content needs to feed those needs and keep them coming back for more. A content strategy helps to keep your content fresh and establish internal or external processes for ongoing content development and website promotions.

3. Information Architecture Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
Website users can quickly feel lost if placed within a space that is not well organized. Information architecture focuses on usability and designing an effective site organization, navigation and nomenclature, all of which are best handled by professionals.

4. Custom Design Included in the Low-Cost Solution? Kind of.
Do you consider customizing a pre-designed template as custom design? I almost cant wait to be contacted by a company that was told their site was custom, only to come across another site that looks suspiciously similar.

5. Website Production Standards & Compliance Included in the Low-Cost Solution? Probably.
Id bet that a large majority of the cheap service providers out there are actually programmers (not marketers), so your website will probably meet compliance and compatibility standards.

6. Professional Content Development Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
You can dress up an attractive salesperson in a custom tailored suit, but if his sales pitch stinks, hes not going to convert prospects into buyers. Heck, he probably wont even make it past the receptionist. Writing engaging copy for websites is an art and a science and getting a professional website copywriter involved is a very wise investment.

7. Content Management Tools Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
Many low-cost providers dont provide content management options because they are banking on the recurring revenue your website will provide.

8. Search Engine Optimization Included in the Low-Cost Solution? Kind of.
Ask any professional search engine marketer about submitting your site to search engines and optimizing your sites Title and Meta tags and theyll tell you that those techniques are important. But if you ask them, Will this get me to #1 on Google? Theyll probably laugh at you. These few techniques are all youre going to get out of cheap website service providers.

9. Website Analytics Integration Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
Since many low-cost providers are also programmers who are probably running their own servers, they will probably include some basic traffic statistics for your site. But this is only the tip of the iceberg when you integrate free tools like Google Analytics into your site that will provide so much more user behavioral analysis and conversion tracking.

10. Internet Marketing Included in the Low-Cost Solution? No.
With so many internet marketing tools at our fingertips, developing and launching your website is only the beginning. Now its time to go fishing.

Conclusion

A small business needs to think of their website as a salesperson. A salesperson with vast potential. When you provide that salesperson with proper training (website and content strategy), a sharp business suit (great design), an engaging sales pitch (great content) and great connections to a huge network of potential customers (SEO and internet marketing), you may be surprised at how quickly your investment is returned, and then some.

About the Author

Brody Dorland
Allure New Media, LLC
Since graduating from Kansas State University with a BA in Public Relations and a Minor in Marketing, Brody has worked on both the marketing-agency side and the corporate side creating integrated marketing programs for companies in a variety of industries (financial services, consulting, commercial real estate, water/wastewater, building products, automotive, food and information technology). As the president and creative director of Something Creative, Inc., Brody provides small and mid-sized businesses with high-quality, creative marketing services at very competitive rates. Something Creative's services include strategic planning, branding, graphic and web design, advertising campaign development, search engine optimization, internet marketing and copywriting.

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