Old School New Era



The concepts put forward in this article may be more for web designers who will think, yes, I can relate to that. However, the reason I wrote it is to inform people considering a web site for their business. That if I could relate what web designers need to build you a great web site the whole exercise will be positive for the business owner.

Today’s bricks and mortar is a web site. No longer do people ask if you have a shop, they ask for a web site. It must integrate with social media. Today, most people Google everything. I don’t even have a phone book any more. There’s not one phone book in our entire office. Plus, if I’m out and about it’s the mobile phone. Not a phone book or street directory.

computer netYet business owners still spend countless thousands on an endangered species rather than a few thousand on current technology.

I find it somewhat amusing these days to hear there are still a great majority of business owners that want to trade in the new era but still behave old school. Often these owners are still not up with the internet age and web sites, let alone social media, video and blogging.

They are also perplexed as they cannot seem to grow their business or in some cases they are loosing ground to competitors and they still maintain what they think is a safe position by not leaving their old school comfort zone. Everybody else including their competitors are going new age.

Rather than move ahead and try something new, they keep digging into that old worn-out bag of tricks. Paper/print, signs, banners, business cards yada yada yada!

Today’s bricks and mortar is a web site. No longer do people ask if you have a shop, they ask for a web site.

Sometimes they might have a vision that yes! Indeed! the future is on line but when it comes to building something like a web site, they go the cheap way, not wanting to risk anything on something they consider according to old school, might not work. They often then decide they can be a web expert and build their own site or get little cousin Johnny to build their web presence.

After 12 months of trial and error they decide the site does not work and they think, isn’t it great they did not spend money with and experienced web designer because it’s all a big failure. So, they cross it off thinking , after all they were right and never try anything new again.

…and there’s the flaw in their logic. An experienced web designer considers a lot more than just a page on the web and how pretty it looks. They consider social aspects of the site, how it will perform with the search engines, the customer’s point of view and marketing the site just to name a few. Yes, you have to market a web site. Also many have no idea how many business owners build a site based on how they experience their business, from behind the counter.

Of course, the business owner knows what they do, they do not know what a web designer does or what goes on behind the scenes like making the site for the customer, not the boss. The web designer’s skill is in how to translate the business into how the customer sees the business. How the customer wants the information presented to them.

These are the inherent dangers of the business owner building their own web site.

Let’s face it; if I want my electrical wiring fixed, I hire an electrician. I don’t get a basic knowledge of electricity, buy a pair of wire cutters and just help myself.

Like the electrician analogy, if you want a proper web site that performs and not a half-hearted attempt at a site to save money, get a pro!

Web Designers are not mind readers.

Engaging a web designer should include some preliminary work by you to inform your chosen expert as to what is to be achieved by the site. What are the goals, who is the audience, is it a product or a service. These are just a few of the basics you will need to know before you even start to look for a designer.

The worst thing you can do is go to a web designer and say, “I want you to build me a web site and I was hoping you would tell me what I need for my business.” Web designers are not mind readers. You need to inform them of your business and what you are trying to do, who you are selling to and your idea of your image.

checkboxes-300x127 (1)You need to present the idea of what you perceive as the image of your business to be. After all, it’s your business not the web designer’s.

What are your colours, do you want a pro look or is the site to be light-hearted or cartoon-like?

The reason you just cannot throw this at your web designer is that their opinion of what is professional or what is light-hearted may be different from what your version looks like. This is about empowering you by passing on your view of your business.

It may be an idea to have a look around the web and see what sites you like. Your final result could be similar or be a combination of input from several site types. Your web designer can create and then populate your web site with the content needed to promote your products, service and business image.

The one mistake most business owners make when it comes to web designers is that web designers are not business coaches (although many think they are). WE HAVE IDEAS ON LOTS OF THINGS BUT THESE MAY NOT BE THE SAME AS YOUR IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS.

Just because they are versed on internet and web design does not mean they know the vision you have for your business and this is why you must do your research and present your vision to the designer clearly and concisely. Web designers are not there to work out your business plan. They are one tool in your arsenal to action your plans for your business.

A better idea is if you are not sure about how your business should be modelled, is to engage a coach or business adviser to work with your web designer. This way you have a team of experts in effect working for you to improve your business.

This should proceed like everything else you take seriously….. Do your research, have definite ideas about your business and where it is going. Pass those concepts on to your web designer and advisory team so they can bring you vision to life. They need the base materials to work with which you need to provide. This is the only way to get where you are going. Taking short-cuts or the cheap option is a waste of your time, effort and money.

If you are going to do something, do it well!

I’ll get into social media and video in another article as that is another story all by itself. If you think it’s hard to get some businesses to go web, try a newer technology like FaceBook or video…!#@?

Thanks for reading. I hope you can use this information to expand your own ideas.


Article by: David Hales, CEO, Optical Design. www.opticaldesign.com.au


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