The most important things you should demand from your web designer today are:
I want my domain in my domain hosting account!
I want my email hosted on a separate server and I want it in my account!
I want my website in a CMS (content management system) that I own and I can easily update!
Has this happened to you? You engaged a web design firm to have a professional website designed to help your business or organization prosper and take advantage of the ever growing internet market? After an exhausting and time consuming process, your website finally gets launched. A little time passes and you find that you need additional changes or additions made to your website. You contacted the web designer with your requests and for whatever reason, the updates are not delivered within the timeframe you expected. How did you feel? Frustrated? Powerless? Mad? This could and most likely is limiting your ability to execute your marketing plan.
The most common complaint we hear from our new clients is, getting updates or additions to the existing website were either expensive or difficult to get accomplished. The process of communicating the changes were time consuming and the timeliness of getting the updates posted were lacking. Why does it have to be so hard and frustrating they ask? Why can’t I make simple changes on my own without having to go through someone else?
The next serious issue we encounter when on-boarding our new clients is, most do not own or control their own domain or web address. If your clients are used to finding you on the internet at your website like www.mygoodbusiness.com, and you decide to change to a different vendor for web services, you may find that your previous vendor owns your domain and may or may not be open to handing it over to you. you may end up having to purchase a new domain name and training your clients and customers to look for you at a different web address. How would that make you feel? As a valued customer or as a hostage? What is that doing to your business’s fiscal well being?
The same goes for your email and email addresses. If your email is hosted with the same vendor as your website and you choose to move vendors as above, you could also be looking at possibly having to train all of your contacts to email you at a new email address. In addition, if your email and website are hosted on the same server and the server goes down, you may find you are not only invisible on the internet, your email communications are disrupted as well until the server is restored. How would that make you feel? As a valued customer or as a victim?
As a business owner, being in charge and being able to get things done when they need to be done is important to you. Shouldn't it be that way with one of the most important marketing tools at your disposal? You bet it should and this is how to get it done.
If you haven’t already, open up a GoDaddy account or equivalent and take the steps to get your web address imported into your account. You should own it and have total control over it. Your domain is a very important marketing asset.
All small businesses should have their email addresses associated with their web address for branding purposes at the very least. For example firstname.lastname@example.org. More importantly, they should have their email hosted on its own server apart from their website. One excellent solution is to host the company email with Google Apps. It’s inexpensive, super reliable, and powerful.
Move your website into a CMS (content management system). If your web designer promotes a custom design, they may find this request radical. They will tell you fifty reasons why you shouldn’t. We’ve heard them all. The problem is, most often your web designer is not thinking from a business owner’s perspective. Getting fresh updated content is more valuable to your prospects and Google than your web designers feelings. A CMS accommodates this process and empowers the business owner. How nice would it be to quickly log in and update a page without having to pay or wait and wonder if it has been done yet?
Your website should be a tool that is designed from the ground up to complement your current and future marketing efforts. The most valuable aspect of your website is not that it is an award winning feather in the cap of a web designer. The most valuable aspect of your website should be that it immediately communicates to your visitor - you found what you are looking for and here is what you should do next. The content placed on the website is way more important than the exact placement of a swirl or color shade. I’m not saying that websites have to be “ugly”, I’m saying that the thought and time that goes into the content and the user experience should be nine parts to one part “pretty”. We’ve seen many beautiful brochure websites with dismal performance analytics when compared to functional “ugly” websites. And the most common question we hear from clients is, “how can we get found?” Not “How can I make our website more pretty?”
Just like everything else, you need to own and be in the driver seat of your most valuable marketing assets. If your web designer is not on board, find one who is confident enough to expect you to stay around because they value you as a customer and service you like they mean it as opposed to holding you hostage because they control your domain, email, and website.
Ready to take the next step?