When trying to troubleshoot the online presence of your business, many business owners will turn to have someone do SEO work in order to have their business “found” online. As a web developer, I will say for the most part that it is not the website that is the problem. It’s the idea of saving cost on the website that IS the problem. Most people I design for say they have “no idea” how to develop a website, and then once the contract is signed, all of a sudden they dictate how the website should be built. That is not how any professional trade should be, yet with design, it is all too commonplace, and almost expected. You don’t tell a doctor how to remove your appendix though, right?
Professional designers and creative directors have spent many years analyzing code, noticing what works and what doesn’t, researching demographics, etc…We often see what is best for a business because we have an objective view of it. But how often do we here “I don’t think that is necessary!” or “That is going to cost HOW MUCH to do?!”
This is often the case when we try to decide the content of the website…Which leaves those of us who call design our profession often wonder why anyone hires a professional to begin with.
Look…If you are worried about the “cost” of your website, you are missing the whole point of having one. A design spearheaded by a professional may cost you more than what you were looking to spend, but it will pay off ten to twenty fold in return on investment. We think about the content, we think about how the user will interact with it, we think about the overall experience of the design…So if your website is not doing what you wanted it to do, you have to ask yourself this: “Did I not let the professional do the job I paid them to do, or did I hinder it’s development because I was worried about the cost and having things done MY way?”
I understand what many business owners are thinking: “Easy for you to say. As a Creative Director, you’re the one making money off of me!” Yes, I have to eat and pay bills, too. What people who hire us often forget though is that THEY are our portfolio. If we don’t make our clients look good, nor provide a satisfying user experience, WE are the one’s who will be judged accordingly. We have a vested interest in making your project the best it can be.
My company specializes in making small businesses look like bigger businesses. We have been set up in a way to help level the playing field for small businesses to go up against big businesses…This includes how the site is set up, the use of ALT tags, keyword usage, organic content, etc. A client has to trust the web professional and the development process, or else they get what they have always had: Something that looks like it was spearheaded by an amateur. And here is the ugly truth no other company will tell you: You are the amateur.
In the world of online presence, the customer is not always right. The end user is. It’s time to face that fact.
If done right, your online presence can help you succeed financially in the long run. These are the questions a small business owner often forgets to ask: How much is a re-design going to cost you later if you are wrong? How about all that SEO work for something that could have been set up in the initial stages of the website? Yes, a professional will often consider the content and SEO in the initial set up of your site. That’s why it SEEMS it is costing so much in the beginning.
I know the biggest complaint about competing with big business is that they have “deep pockets”. But at one point, they were a small business just like you. The only difference between yesterday’s market and today’s market is those big businesses understood that “the only want to make money was by spending money” when they were still small businesses. When people try to cut the cost of how they present themselves to the world, it shows…Trust me. You know it. We all do. No amount of SEO will save you if you budgeted the look and navigation of your website. You can lead a horse to water, but if you do not make that water look tasty and relevant, that horse will go find another well to drink at…Yeah, I just changed that saying to fit this article, but that’s what creatives do. That’s why we get the big bucks.
I know I will get flack on this, but sometimes the truth hurts. After all AT&T (Bell) was up against Western Union when they started off. Now the only time we hear of Western Union is when we need to wire money to someone when they are strapped for cash. Western Union decided to maintain the status quo. AT&T believed enough in themselves to invest in themselves wisely with updated technology and a vision. That is the difference between someone remaining a small business or becoming a big business. Maybe you are not trying to be a big business, but how about a sustainable business then? It’s the difference between the “big picture” and “sweating the small stuff”. Philly Puddy Designs started off with my own money (which was way below $500). We are now in competition with many big design firms. We now even have some of their clients. It’s not because we spent a lot of money either. We spent our resources wisely, marketed ourselves efficiently, and listened to other’s who were guiding us in those early days. Sometimes it means “this is going to hurt your pocketbook for a while, but it will pay off in the long run”. Don’t you think your business could benefit from that experience?
Yet, you are still convinced that if you can just get Google or Bing to find you, then your problems will be over. Let us be clear: just because the internet enables others to find you faster, does not mean they will like what they see. Let’s face it, many small businesses don’t look like they take themselves seriously. They often cut costs on the very thing that will get them noticed, and that is their website’s design. These days, it’s all about presentation, not web traffic. It’s also about how your treat those that find you. Top placement means nothing if the one who clicks your link does not like what they are seeing…Or even worse, have to dig for what they are looking for.
Because let’s face it…Your just not that important until you become indispensable.
Find out why our clients find us to be indefensible.