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I have a client who was called by [one of those online Yellow Pages–type companies] that would build him a website for $39 a month, which he wants to look into. The website that he initially hired me for is not built yet. In other words, he is considering "firing" me.
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from rickvidallon 2613 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Dear Fired...Tell your client that many of these big box assembly line web companies charge for online leads that come in via email or email forms embedded in the website -- and that you pay for the lead whether or not the lead gets closed. In some cases these companies will bill the client @ $125 per lead and up. Also tell your client that he has no idea if an experienced web person or some kid out of high school will be building his website and that these big box companies have no vested interest in your clients success or failure. They simply want to get the sale. PERIOD.Many business owners who hire me have found that the bitterness of poor web performance lingers a lot longer than the sweet price they were lured into.

And some business owners or managers, don’t even hire a web design company. They relegate website duties to the most willing staff member who has little or no online professional experience and crown him or her Head Webmaster and Office Marketing Guru.

This reminds me of a joke I recently read.

Two guys meet at a party and the first gentleman says:“I'm getting ready to retire soon and thought I’d try my hand at writing.”The other gentleman asks: “What do you do?” “I'm a brain surgeon,” he replies.The other guy says: “That's a coincidence. I’m a writer who’s planning to retire and thought I'd try a little brain surgery.”

Writing, like website development, architecture, or any other profession, is taught at the university level. Approaching your website like a play toy is risky, because your competitors are most likely taking their websites seriously.

Websites are a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal and should not be pawned off on the energetic staffer or too-good-to-pass-up price of a questionable web designer.

Below are seven questions you should ask the person in charge of or building your website:

• What are the local listing parameters of Google, Yahoo and Bing?• Do you know what back linking and link-branding are?• How can a paid link adversely affect your website?• When Google crawls your public or private online assets, do you know how to increase or prevent this crawl?• Do you know the difference between Social Networking, Blogs, Forums, Video Sites and Web Directories?• What can get a website delisted or penalized in Google?• Do you know how content, links and traffic specifically effects your ranking in Google and other major search engines?

Not knowing how to correctly administer or manage any of these points can result in a website that will only be found when someone directly types in your website address. There will be no search engine success that thousands of companies in Hampton Roads are experiencing. By relegating your website to an amateur, you’re relegating your website to page 78 of the search engines. Do you look that deeply into the results of your Internet searches?

There is nothing wrong with learning technology.

But unless you are working in web technology and marketing day-in and day-out, you are only beginning to scratch the surface for what the Web can do for your business.

Beware of the sharksWeb technology and web marketing are deep waters filled with smart dolphins (the good guys) and man-eating predator sharks who want nothing more than to take a big bite out of your budget.

How do I know this? Because I frequently get calls from business owners who hired some company to build their website. The business owner was promised the moon, then the web company failed to deliver the goods shortly after they drained as much money as possible from the owner. Many of these folks are now my clients. I only wish they had found me first (actually, some of them did, but found a better price and deal).

Below is an excerpt from a conversation I had with a photographer in Virginia.

"Rick, I hired a company in Utah to build my website. Six months later I still haven’t got one single lead from the site. So I called them and they said I need a blog. I paid $350 for a blog. Three months later... no leads. I called again and they said I need an XML sitemap because Google has changed its algorithm and requires websites to have sitemaps. So I paid another $350 and get a site map. Then guess what? Still no leads. This is why I am calling you. Can you help me? Was this company telling me the truth?"

What this photographer did not realize is that most likely his website was slapped together by a 20-something-year-old kid fresh out of technical school who has no vested interest in whether or not his website generates leads or not. And that the photographer is one of the thousands of faceless, nameless customers accumulated by aggressive sales sharks trying to make their monthly quota.

Don't fall for this. Don't forget what your father told you. The following axioms are as true as they were 50 years ago.

• You get what you pay for.• If it is too good to be true, then it usually is.• There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Research and ask the right questionsIf you hire a technology company to help manage your website, you need to do some serious research.

For example, nearly two years ago BMW North America received a terse slap on the wrist when the SEO company they had hired performed what Google considered a violation of their webmaster guidelines.

The also same happened to J.C. Penny in February 2011. Even though J.C. Penny fired their web development/search engine company, it will still take them months to undo the online damage of having dropped from page #1 for many product searches to page #40.

There are NO short cuts to online success. The two most important components to any website are:

1. The Creative – Does your website look great and is it easy to navigate? Does your website reflect the image you want for your business, or does it look like a bird's nest?

The success of your on-line presence begins with an original and well-conceived design. Your potential customers should take one look at your website and say, "This is a place I can do business! How professional, clean and user-friendly this website is."

2. The Technical – Does your website load fast and is it found by Google and other major search engines? What good is it to have a great looking website that does not get found by search engines? It’s the same as building a brick and mortar business in the middle of the woods with no roads to get to you. You’re invisible.

Millions of people look for products and services every hour using search engines. If you’ve hired the wrong web company or relegated your website to the wrong employee and have no search engine presence, you are missing out on precious leads and increased business.

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