Why blog? And why now?
It’s quite simply really. Over the years I’ve noticed that many clients struggle to grasp how to get the most out of their websites. Having worked in this industry for more than a decade I have grown to live with the rapidly changing environment that I work in, but the continual learning can sometimes leave me feeling exasperated trying to stay on top of the game. So if I can struggle ñ how much more could somebody who doesn’t even work in this industry? It’s no wonder a lot of clients can feel lost!
Add to this the low barrier of entry into the industry and I sadly find many people passing themselves off as web designers or developers providing, at best, a mediocre service. It’s not necessarily that these suppliers are particularly unscrupulous, just simply well-meaning amateurs that believe the hype but struggle to deliver. Most fail to see their own shortcomings or unprofessionalism, and clients who buy their services don’t realise they’re effectively buying a pipe dream. They just don’t know the right questions to ask in order to qualify an authentic quality vendor.
All to often I hear that a client has decided to use their son/neighbour (delete as appropriate) or Bob’s Internet Design, Networking, Computer repair, Web hosting and e-Commerce do-it-all-under-one-roof company, probably because his flyer dropped out of the free local rag. Either way the client eventually becomes unhappy with the results (sometimes none!) and disillusioned with web professionals in general. The risks can be substantial, but it’s only after the event that he starts to learn – the lowest price usually (not always) equates to the lowest quality, but how many times does that fall on deaf ears?
Y’see when Bob does deliver the website it’s not usually that long before the client realises that the little traffic it is attracting fails to return, and then one person actually tries to use the checkout but finds that it doesn’t work. Thanks to Bob’s faulty coding the customers personal details could now be up for sale on the black market – ouch!
So what can be done? Well let’s not forget that this industry is still relatively new so we should appreciate how many clients can still be easily duped, however that said there are plenty of people intelligent enough to do a little research before handing over £1,000 or £8,000 upwards for a website. You wouldn’t hire a solicitor or lawyer without running an eye over their credentials, a few checks to ensure they’re Kosher and have a decent reputation so why not a web vendor?
There are so many excellent web professionals around, I’ve met some awesome guys (& gals) out there who do some superb work, creating websites that not only look fantastic and function as intended without any brain-ache, but they also nail those all important commercial objectives. Now that’s professionalism in my book, not only delivering a great accessible website that’s usable, but also adding serious value to the client’s business.
With this blog I hope to address these concerns and build a resource that clients can use to good effect when trying to develop a better business online. I have a few plans up my sleeve that will likely include some publications, maybe some Webinars or other events, and possibly some training material too. Until then I’ll be creating a lot more content that covers some significant areas I feel are pertinent. These are:
- Planning your project – identifying the real online business objectives through key foundation preparation necessary before engaging with a vendor.
- Producing your website – bringing all the inside knowledge on how to engage with the right vendors to produce your website, and what to do to keep them on track and on budget!
- Promoting your products/services – this will feature lots of initiatives to help you and reach out to your audience and bring *quality* traffic to your site.
In addition I’m hoping to add a Resources section sometime soon where you’ll find information on some of the really useful websites and features that can enhance the life of your online business.
So I hope this proves attractive – please do come back and revisit soon!