When clients (or potential clients) approach me to talk about their website needs, it’s interesting to see the same questions coming up again and again. Among the common misconceptions that doom the eventual site to irrelevance and mediocrity, there seems to be a common theme amongst business owners; for some reason they want to separate their online presence from their offline presence and that taking shortcuts for what sounds like a capital saving alternative – often the friendly neighbour who read a few books and perhaps a couple of articles, who fancies themselves capable of creating business websites. Or perhaps the business owner decides to make it a DYI project in order to save a few bucks. The owner decides to spend a couple of hours filling in some blanks and then they consider themselves open for online business. It happens so often with cash strapped business owners in the early stages of their new venture that there’s almost a “snow-blind” quality to the activities around putting these online items together. What seems to be missing from this conversation? I’m not really sure, but for me it’s about your online brand; appearing relevant, professional and trustworthy in the larger online world.
Often, if they do decide to hire someone to build their site because they don’t feel they have the “techie skills” to manage the job, they listen to the web developer with their eyes glazed over (perhaps embarrassed to admit that they don’t have a clue what they are hearing). They are almost afraid to ask key questions or do any type of due diligence as to what needs to happen or be included in their online home (that’s what your website actually is). Then they make a deposit, stress over the length of time it’s taking to get it done, they allow the developer to make the decisions and then are frustrated with the finished product. They often feel lost, unsupported and disappointed with the result and then struggle to work with something that doesn’t fit the needs of the business and the vision of the business owner. Of course, they can always get it fixed by going to another developer and paying again to make it better. It’s time to stop the madness.
Let’s take a look at what needs to happen even before you sit with your web developer to flesh out the business needs for your website. A couple of hours of attention here can save the new business owner a mountain of grief and large amounts of money to get their functioning website launched and out there into the virtual world. The answers to these few questions will help you prepare for an intelligent conversation with your web developer and take care of some of the biggest headaches you can come into contact with. These questions are for the business owner – the answers can be relayed to your developer to help keep everyone on the same page throughout the process.
- What’s the purpose of your website?
- What do you want your website to say about your business?
- Do you need a blog?
- What are the “must haves” for your site?
- Do you intend to “set-it-and-forget-it” or will you (or someone else you designate) manage specific areas of your website?
- Have you already bought your website domain and web hosting plan?
- Have you looked at other websites in your industry and can you point out what you like/don’t like to your web designer?
- Do you have your company logo ready for use by your web designer?
To help you answer these questions aimed at helping you get ready to talk to any web designer you’re considering working with, download the free setting up your business website cheat sheet here. BTW: the cheat sheet has more questions to round out the info you need. As a business person you have a lot of things on your plate – and you need to focus on the things that will sell you and your business, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Here’s how to get your website up to speed as quickly as possible, with as little stress as possible!
Download your business website cheat sheet here.