You can’t just build it and expect them to come.
Here are some things a good web designer will tell clients, who might otherwise have unreasonable expectations for their new website.
“You have to be your own evangelist”
Our role is to help you unlock the technology so you can take advantage of it, but you have to get involved and really run with marketing if you want your business & website to thrive. The more involved you get, the more successful you will be, even more so when your site or business is brand new. You can’t just put it on the web, and expect people to flock to your site.
Hiring other people to blog for you or administer your social profiles will only work well if you find people who are equally passionate and knowledgeable about your industry, which really means you, or your employees. Your website designer’s job is to help you and build a platform for, and educate you to help you make the most of whatever content you do create.
“Stay focused. Please be willing to write content, answer questions and provide feedback.”
Since you know your business better than anyone, it is important that you play a role in creating the content for your website. If you are unwilling or unable to even write a simple “About” page, let alone a website full of content, you are going to need to budget for content creation and find someone good to take care of it.
Another important part of building a good website is communicating efficiently. If your designer asks you a question or request specific information, make sure you answer promptly and completely. Try to keep your designer working, and really ride the momentum. Long delays in communication sidetrack potential progress.
Good designers are usually ahead of their clients, and clients that disappear for days or weeks at a time (mostly because they are having trouble finding the time or words to prepare content) are working against themselves. A good designer can turn 2 pages in word and a few images into a foundation that can blossom over time. It is much better to launch quickly with a solid and flexible foundation, and grow your site as you find the time and resources.
“Be reasonable, start small and think for the long term.”
One of the most frequent calls web designers get is from people who are interested in getting lots of clients ASAP, and spending little to no money to get them. Unfortunately, this is not possible without time to invest in developing, testing and refining your marketing strategies.
For most small businesses, the best way to proceed is to launch a flexible and professional website that is integrated with the latest tools, and to work with a web designer that can help them make the most out of the time and resources they do have to spend.
Remember, best practices over the long term lead to the best results. Keep your focus on growing your contacts and connections, making customers happy and getting good reviews. With your webmasters help, you should work with them to improve your website over time to expand and streamline the way you market and manage your business.
It isn’t something that happens overnight, and it isn’t something that happens by accident. A website that helps you sell, and automates the most important aspects of marketing and management should be your ultimate long term goal. To accomplish this, make sure you budget resources for what happens after your site is built and launched, that is really only the beginning.