Your web site is like a car in many ways. Let’s start with the fact that just like you need wheels to get around, you can’t really get around the business world today without a web site.
If you have a web site to upgrade or if you are considering launching your first web site, just like purchasing a car, you need to shop around. The one basic axiom to remember is, “You get what you pay for” and like purchasing a car, you can either buy or lease your new site.
Here are some tips for what I refer to as leasing. When you see a great deal for “Just $99.00 for Your Web Site”, this is a situation, where in addition to the $99, you will most likely be paying a monthly fee and “caution” you may have some heavy restrictions on how much you can expand your site in the future. In addition, if you choose to leave the web development company that has sold you this contract you will walk away with nothing, much like a car lease. Now, I am not saying this is a bad option for getting your Internet feet wet, just be aware of what you are buying. Ask a lot of questions! For example, if you are a regional sales representative you may not want to get into a car lease that will restrict your mileage. The same holds true if you have a very aggressive plan for starting and building your web presence this type of “leasing” situation is probably not for you.
So, let’s say you decided to buy! Still ask a lot of questions and interview your web designer and developer well. Before you select a firm be sure to look at web sites they have completed. Ask about their web development process – do they have procedures in place that will ensure that your site is completed in a timely manner and is compliant with current web standards.
Yes, you will probably suffer from sticker shock but remember, your web site is an investment and an asset to your company. Here is the big difference, unlike a car that depreciates, your web site will continue to gain in value to your customers and your staff as you develop it’s content and functionality. So, word to the wise, don’t cheap out, rather adopt a strategic plan. If you find a web developer that instills confidence in you and the chemistry works [yes, this is very important] then work out a plan. If the initial cost to build “the site of your dreams” just takes your breath away then build the site in phases. Start with your basic web site and set a plan for the development and launch of the subsequent areas of your site in the future.
One important thing to keep in mind is remember to take plenty of time on the front end planning for where you want to be five years from now with special emphasis on a flexible navigation system and a strategic plan that will improve your web presence each time you launch a new phase.
Find out in my next post “Keeping Your Site on the Internet – Don’t Get Derailed by Poor Record Keeping”