Mary Schmidt does it again – another must read, this time on the subject of “Building and Managing Your Online Office.” Read her “When Bad Creativity Happens to Good People: post here, then read her full article here.
In my consulting work, I often have to review really bad web sites, from all sizes and types of companies and organizations. Some of the largest and most expensive sites are often the most broken (lots of style, very little substance with no consideration given to customer service). And, small businesses often make the “penny wise, pound foolish” mistake of going with a web hobbyist. But, how do you know whether you’re working with a hobbyist or a pro?
All web developers run across this at somepoint. “It’s between you and my 15 year old nephew.” That’s the point that I walk out of the room. I don’t take customers unless I’m convinced that I can have a positive impact; where I can help them on the road to success. If your business means so little to you that you’d allow you’re nephew (cousin, brother-in-law, etc.) to hack out your web site, you’re not a customer I want. After all, you wouldn’t want him/her to take his first shot at cosmetic surgery on you.
I’ve heard it said by many a potential customer, “my web site isn’t a large part of my business.” The truth is, it is one of your primary points of customer contact. If it looks professional, you look professional. It’s one of the things customers immediately check to see if your “real”; and it’s a tremendous eqaulizer for smaller businesses. Even if your business is small, you can look big on the web; if fact you can look bigger and better (more professional) than your larger, more established competition. In short, if your website isn’t an important facit of your business, you really need to look at what you are doing wrong.
Your homework for today is to take a look at your web presence with a jaundiced eye. Does your message come across? Are you doing it better than the competition? Can customers find you easily? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you have an opportunity to improve in 2007.