Consider This Before You Get a Buddy to Build Your Site

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If your nephew, brother, uncle or even your graphic designer friend has a flair for the creative don’t let price alone motive a decision to have your buddy build your website. Sites like Amazon and eBay will probably never win design awards but they arguably transact more business online than any other web property due largely to their development team’s understanding of customer behavior, wants and the underlying technology driving site functionality.  That said; ask yourself the following questions before you let a price break motivate you to set Uncle Luke loose on building the website that just might be your prospective customer’s first introduction to your business.

  1. What problem does your website solve?
    Sites designed for selling products, generating leads or simply building awareness are all different animals and the design and driving technology behind the scenes are different.  Your chosen website development provider should be able to understand what your customers need and want and be able to help you think through how to best fulfill these needs online.
  2. What is the right technology to use?
    Graphic designers usually fall victim to this scenario.  Designing the site’s look at feel (creative) is a completely different task than inserting and activating the mix of navigation, links, site measurement tools, search engine hooks, database drivers, etc.  Creative types often don’t have much or any depth of knowledge with the enabling technologies and rely on shrink-wrapped authoring tools like Dreamweaver, Microsoft’s Front page, etc. to generate the facilitating programming.  In addition to integrating the right applications, the site must function properly within an ever growing universe of browsers and operating systems.
  3. How will I update my site?
    While your unemployed nephew might be very excited about the prospect of making a couple hundred dollars to get your site up, what happens inevitably when you need to make a change?  If he has the time to do it at all, chances are your critical site change will be on the back burner competing against other priorities in his life (new girlfriend, baby, new job, etc.).  A competent provider will be able to create a user-friendly content management system so that you or a staff member will be able to make most changes.
  4. How will prospects discover my site?
    While there are many online and offline strategies to get visitors to your site most are outside the scope of the actual development process. The short answer is Google or some related search tool.  In order for your site to be search engine sticky it has to be outfitted with a number of hooks in order for the site to be found and for your site to rank high in search results (meta tags, meta descriptions, search keywords, friendly URLs, frequently updated content, etc).

If your nephew is a bang up designer, skilled in multiple web coding languages, understands site usability, regularly implements search engine optimization schemes then by all means employ him. This is not a bash against family support or budget control but the message is intended to help you diminish risk by asking the right questions up front to ensue that your site meets its intended business objectives. 

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4 Responses to “Consider This Before You Get a Buddy to Build Your Site”

  1. Customer Flypaper» Blog Archive » Don’t Hope for Website Traffic, Start Tracking! Says:

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