If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job...

by Administrator2 30. January 2011 06:17

The full quote from Red Adair (American Oil Well Firefighter) is “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” This quote holds a LOT of truth in it when dealing with web or Internet development.

More often than not, businesses looking to make an entry into Internet web sites for the first time OR trying it again (after one or more failed starts) will opt for low-cost solutions that in the end typically do not have positive results. To some, it makes sense that one can expend a small amount of money to accomplish an online presence and assume productive results will occur – after all it IS the Internet, a web site is a web site right?

Not at all - professionally developed web sites will ALWAYS perform better than ones built by amateurs. Perform? Now there’s a keyword! Perform as in 'faster speeds', 'better user retention' 'achieves revenue', and 'reduces overall operating costs' are all common performance results for professionally developed web sites. Amateur sites simply do not achieve the same level of performance. Why?

Design builds trust
It's well know that site visitors will establish a feeling of trust within 1/20 of a second when viewing a web site for the first time. Does you site look like a first-grader did it? Or does it make you feel at ease? Quality design drives this decision. Amateurs usually lack the skill to design a user friendly site using accepted best practices and Human Factors considerations. This is a combination of a well seasoned artist and use of human psychology to design that perfect fit and balance of art and the human mind.

Engage the User
Check your web site traffic logs, if more than 40% of visitors are not going past your home page you have problems. Users need engaging reasons to travel the width and breadth of your web site. If all you provide is more or less an electronic brochure online, its unlikely that you will be chosen over your competitor who does engage the user with product lists, ordering capabilities, provides interactive PR, or otherwise generally empowers the user to enjoy many of the same amenities as walking into a brick-and-mortar location. A prime example would be when a user submits a contact form, do they get an e-mail response detailing their form submission information AND confirming some one will personally contact them soon? Or do they just see a 'thank you for your interest' page? The engaged user will anticipate your contact, the non-engaged user looks at the thank-you page and wonders what to do next? (Maybe see what the competition has to offer online? while wondering if YOU actually got his/her form submission or not)

Usability, ease of use, user friendly - all similar terms. The use of a consistent navigation system (menus), standardized placement of site features, and predictive modeling certainly is easy to identify when comparing amateurs and professionals. Common mistakes like a lack of a HOME button on every page (yes even the home page) are prevalent in amateur designs. Maybe the menus change or move when going from one to another? Again, poor design and lack of knowledge can aggravate the user. Aggravated users generally don't do business with what aggravates them. Professionals will ensure users don get lost in a site. They will also encourage the user to examine 'path ways' to obtain an objective like buying something, supply information, or even get some assistance.

Amateurs simply do not have the knowledge, experience, and technology to accomplish a return on investment. They can in fact COST you business, INCREASE EXPENSES, and REDUCE YOUR REPUTATION. Sure even a bad site can turn a lead or compel the user to contact the company once in a while, but that's not cost effective. You NEED to examine ways to consistently turn over new leads and customer relations multiple times a day. If your site does not generate primary or secondary revenue to cover its own costs, then you are losing money. Does it even return the costs of hosting? Usually this monthly fee is between $25.00 and $100.00 a month for a reliable host. ($300.00 to $1200.00 per year). How many sales do you need to make to recover that cost alone?

There is direct correlation between and what is spent on a site and what it will return. Basically, professional sites will cost more - but they will also not be a losing investment.

When looking at the deciding factors leading to a web site, be sure to note that you are looking at making a long-term investment (3-5 years). Yes, almost anyone can create a web site - but it is experience, knowledge, and expertise that will actually put your company out in front.

Snowball has a TEAM of qualified professionals standing by to work with you to grow your business online. Our artists, developers, and specialists all contribute to building a web site you can be proud of as well as contribute something positive to the growth of your company. Interested in more? Call 304-255-2230 or email sales@snowballdigitalworld.com when you are ready to succeed online.





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About the conductor of the Xpress

I've been involved in Internet technology since the early 90's. I started by running a BBS, then FIDOnet (precursor to todays e-mail). This in turn lead me to start one of the world's first HTML based BBS with Internet technology. Prior to moving back to hometown WV in 2004, I was a developer for numerous companies, including Fortune 500 firms, dot com 'darling' companies, and AOL's public web site (non-member side) inlcuding having completed many sites for the Federal government including the EPA, FCC, NIH, and the USDA. I've worked on massive challenging sites, with a teams of developers, programmers, all for one single site and I've worked in companies where I took manula web site production from several weeks to just hours creating 2-5 new sites a week using automated tools , many with e-commerce capabilities.

Its been an exciting career for the past 15+ yrs or so. Sure, I've stepped on toes, I've hit the perverbial glass ceiling too (in a previous job),  I've seen trends come and go (heck I may have even started a few). I've made some people a lot of money, and I've seen people put their entire life into a web site. I was there at  the beginning - where were you?

I've learned to tell what works for companies and what doesn't. The internet is not one size fits all, as social networking is not for every company. Technology is not the challenge. Almost all the internet technology suitable for everyday business is off-the-shelf, the true challenge is change. Change involves education, implementation, and adaptation.