I’m continually fascinated by people’s viewpoints on websites and what it really takes to create a website that gets results.
I’ve met many people who expect to just build a website and automatically have it start getting sales from day one.
Well… sometimes this happens but most of the time it doesn’t.
Building a website is really like setting up any BUSINESS. You can’t really expect to open a brick-and-mortar store, for example, and have customers just start coming in and buying things. I mean this can happen, but most often it doesn’t.
If you open a store you have to:
- Stock the shelves with things people want
- Promote to get people into the store
- Observe the people while they’re in the store regarding their reactions to the merchandise
- Re-stock and add new merchandise according to those reactions
- Adjust the presentation and pricing of the merchandise according to those reactions
- Communicate with the customers both inside and outside of the store to get them to buy
- And many more things.
In short, it’s a PROCESS. And it is a process unfortunately that many business owners are not prepared to confront when they set up their website.
The average lifespan of a website is about 18 months. I’ve built cutting edge websites that have held their own for 3 or more years, but you really should be prepared to redo your site at least once every 2 years. This is because the internet and web technology is constantly changing and improving.
It is also because the needs and expectations of your website visitors will also change as time passes. What a website will need to deliver today to be considered “good” or even “great” is not necessarily what will create the same effect tomorrow.
You should plan to adjust your web content on a monthly basis at a minimum. The more often your site content updates, the more the search engines will like it.
When launching a website don’t be fixed on anything. Be prepared to change it on the fly, make corrections, add and remove features, etc. as you go.
Based on my experience, it can take as long as a few months to get a launched website really humming. And this is a few months with at least 2 people working on it full time: a site promoter and a webmaster/designer/programmer.
Some webmasters can do it all but this is rare. You will seldom find a good artistic designer who is also a good programmer and if you do, it will cost a lot to hire this person.
When hiring a company to build your site, it’s fine to hire one that is great technically if you have in-house marketing personnel. But if you don’t have web savvy in-house marketing personnel (and I mean really web savvy with regards to internet marketing and promotion as well as marketing in general) then you’re better off hiring a web marketing company and letting them work with your webmaster to get the site built.
The way we work is we have teams of designers, teams of programmers (of all types), and our own in-house web-savvy marketing experts who supervise these teams. Then when it’s all done, we turn the site over to our client’s webmaster with our recommendations and continue to work on whatever additional marketing plans the client wants and needs.
Many times we will work with a client’s in-house marketing team. I particularly like to work this way as marketers think alike and don’t overdo the technology while forsaking the consumer.
So, to sum this up: when you’re building a website, recognize that it’s a commitment and a process. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves, make adjustments (many, many adjustments), and take the TIME to respond to your visitors’ behavior to make your site perform.