Start Right or Your Money Goes Down the Drain

I always believe that if you have plans for a website, please start right.

Starting right is important because you don’t want to waste your money, time and effort. You should spend time investigating your aims in starting a website, and not just get one just because the rest of your competitors have theirs.

I say this because of late, I am playing the part of a firefighter for many people. These people are not my clients but they’ve reached the end of their patience with their existing websites.

Things are not happening. They don’t know why. Their website attracts very little traffic, if any. The words on their website are dull and dreary, even dreadfully cliche. They cannot understand it.

They turn to me for help.

(At a meeting recently with a client, I told him that he was paying us primarily not for what we do but for what we know. Due to our interest in all things internet-related, technical know-how plus our interest in business and marketing, what we know is more important. Anyone can learn HTML and design a website easily. But not everyone can propose solutions, ideas and tell you what works, and why. That’s where our research background and our interest in web usability helps us to help clients – by designing websites right, starting from the beginning.)

And I blame their web designers.

Many web designers think they’re artists and creative persons and they know best. The fact is, a web designer is a web designer. The typical designer whips up a website for his client without even knowing what the client’s aims are! A website should not be an afterthought. It needs to be worked into the client’s overall business strategy. How will the client use the website? And for what reasons?

When the client does not know, the web designer should GUIDE the client.

But that can only happen if the web designer is a business person, first and foremost. Many web designers use their clients’ websites as canvases for their artistic licence. If the client is not savvy or astute enough to realise this, the website won’t perform because it wasn’t designed to perform at all.

And then they come and ask me to look at their website and tell them what’s wrong.

When I tell them what’s wrong, the oddest thing is: they won’t change things! This means they won’t re-design the website although the website is flawed and skewed! They don’t even know if they’re getting traffic but not getting conversions, or that they’re not getting traffic at all.

Having a flawed website is like getting a visitor to come to your house but he cannot find the entrance to come in. After some futile attempts, he leaves. That’s how many of these websites are.

And don’t even get me started on the need for Flash animation.

Do you see any Flash animation on this business website of mine? If you have substantial information, people will come again and again to visit your website, with or without flying chickens, rotating photos and flashing words. Flash is a tool to enhance websites, not the ONLY thing you see on a website. Like all tools, it is easily misused. And you can see lots of evidence of this misuse online.

So my 64-million dollar answer is this: if you are thinking of getting your business a serious business website, please start right. Otherwise, you will pay more to get it rectified later on. And that’s just a waste of good money.

OK, enough for this week.

Come back next week and I will share with you how you can start right.

To your web success,

Nic

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