I was just listening to Jean Chatzky on Oprah radio (XM Radio), all ready for some daily financial advice. Today’s show was about starting your own business. She had 2 entrepreneurs who recently started their own businesses after being laid off, and Network Solutions CEO, Roy Dunbar, discussing the importance of a website with a new business.
Obviously this grabbed my attention! Heck yea a website is important! So I closed what I was working on and ignored my Project Manager who was lost somewhere in Twitter and needed my help (I swear we do work around here ) and I turned up the radio.
This was a great program! Both entrepreneurs , Melissa Bushell and Christine Marchuska, discussed how crucial it was for them to have a website to get word out about their business and to sell online. They discussed social networking, marketing around a web presence and search engine optimization - and how important these components are in helping users find your website. I was just sitting here at my desk nodding along with a big grin, knowing that they are correct from my own experiences and thinking of how wonderful it is that someone on the Oprah radio station was talking about what I have built my whole life around!
Then they started talking price and saving money by doing it yourself or hiring someone right out of college. My nods quickly went to hollering back at my speakers. Of course, getting your company online is important, and I have seen some small companies do this just fine through a cheap site, free blog or a Facebook page – but, if you want it done right, hire a professional.
Let me tell you about my snow pants to better explain a good website. Anyone who has seen me before knows I am the size of your average 12-year-old. So, it is generally more affordable for me to buy children’s clothes. When I was in high school I decided I was going to be a snowboarder. I found some black, cheap, children’s snow pants that come up just above my belly button and have the straps to go over your shoulder (just embarrassing, I know). As with any teenage fad, the “I am going to be a professional snowboarder” went out as fast as my black and white Fender Strat when “I was going to be a rock star.” After about 4 trips to the mountain and one concussion, the cheap, black snow pants got patched up with some duct tape and thrown in a box. The box was placed in the basement alongside my bright yellow children’s snowboard and Olympic dreams!
Ten years down the road, I marry an amazing skier and we live near Big Mountain. Since I like to see my husband every once in awhile in the winter, it was either take up skiing or swallow my pride and give into guitar hero….skiing it was.
In preparation for the season, do I replace the cheap, black snow pants? No way! Patagonia has an extra small jacket with my name on it. So now I am learning to ski in my sweet jacket and sad looking, duct tape patched snow pants. On the last run of the day, a small newbie snowboarder, did not yet understand the length of his board and his back edge caught my leg as he turned in front of me. We both went down (darn snowboarders). My cheap snow pants could not take the fall and with a loud, heart wrenching rip, I knew my pants had taken their last ride! I was forced to shamefully ski down the rest of the mountain with a split down the middle of my cheap, black, duct tape patched, snow pants.
The moral of the story is that my super cheap snow pants looked like any other snow pants from a distance. They did not, however, hold up when I hit a little bump. My more expensive Patagonia jacket not only made it through the accident-filled season, but could probably make it through an avalanche, followed by a fire, followed by a hurricane….and it will still be an awesome looking jacket in 10 years!
We have all learned in everyday life that sometimes you have to pay a bit more for quality. Yet, we often continue to try the less expensive rout! BigforkWEB has gained many clients who come to us to fix or re-do the website they created themselves or hired someone with little experience to design.
Creating a website takes more research, work and talent than you might think. For the best results, you often need multiple people with different specialties to work together. You may find a kid right out of college who can make a site look nice and can do enough coding to get by, but does s/he have the marketing and usability knowledge to put together the best layout for your target audience? Does s/he have the search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge or the W3C standards know-how to build your site with the latest code standards, organic optimization or section 508 compliant? Does s/he have the experience to know what may and may not work for your specific niche? Can s/he work with you to measure the success of your website through your conversion rates?>
Just because a site looks good from far away, does not mean that it is a quality site that will work best for your specific needs or one that will last. Duct tape cannot always patch up a tear – get yourself a nice Patagonia!
Oh yea, both of the successful entrepreneurs on the show had hired professionals to develop their sites.