The Australian Small Business Blog

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Golden Rules of Websites - Rule 5 in a series

By Ron Stark

Imagine you have a restaurant and you need a new chef. Will you employ an electrician because you have an electric stove, or will you employ somebody who knows about food and what makes your customers come back for more? Websites are a bit like that, too. They're no more about computers than a phone call is about electronics or holiday flight overseas is about aeronautical engineering.

If you concentrate on your business needs, your website design almost happens by itself. Concentrate on your customer needs, and your website will work for your business. Concentrate on website development, and your business and your customers take a back seat - which is not where they're supposed to be!

So how do you identify the website provider you need to avoid? That's one who talks about site architecture, layout, computers, server space, hosting, download limits and so on. It's the one who talks about the technology they'll use to build the site. In other words, avoid the developer who talks about all those things that have nothing to do with your business needs or your customers' needs.

Also avoid the developer who tries to get you to sign off on a final design before they start - that simply sets the scene to charge you for design changes. The reality is that you often recognise better ways of laying out a website, and breaking up content, while you're building it. That's the very nature of the beast. You need the freedom to allow your website to seamlessly and freely evolve during construction - and, of course, afterwards .

So how do you select the right website provider? That's the one that learns about your business, your customers, your market and your objectives. It's the one who asks how your business will evolve and grow, so that your website can easily accommodate those changes. It's the one that also understands marketing and how visitors to your website think and behave.

Golden Rule 5
Just because somebody understands computers and can also build websites, that is a poor reason to engage them to build your website.

This is the fifth article in a series that exposes the many, yet frequently overlooked fundamental business principles that successful websites should follow. The author Ron Stark is the founder of Snapsite, who make the effort to first understand your business.

The Australian Small Business Blog

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