* The Big 4 of Websites

June 24, 2008

I get so many clients that start a conversation with, “my neighbors, cousin’s, co-worker built my site, but they don’t answer their phone now”. The old adage, you get what you pay for, has never been more true. I’m a little tired of the damage I come in contact with on a daily basis. It always shocks me what people will do for a fast buck.

There are a few things I want you to look at for while you’re out there in the world. There are a few concepts I want you to take to heart to protect you from spending “bad dollars”. This is something none of us can afford.

Do not let me, or any other website development company, advertising agency or marketing company buy your domain name for you. It takes about 10 minutes of your time and is VERY easy to do. I’ve had clients come to me after letting a company buy their domain name and then going out of business - a particularly sticky proposition if they’re out of state. I searched high and low for this person including a who-is look up and then contracting a very knowledgeable and reputable hosting expert. All to no avail. The original owner literally disappeared off the face of the planet. My client ended up buying a new domain name and then went through the expense of notifying all their clients. Not good.

I offer hosting to a limited degree but encourage my clients to host with a company like Go Daddy or Network Solutions. Chances are, the small company you use now has a “resellers agreement” with a company like this so technically, you are already using them. With the bigger company you will have 24/7 tech support, the latest and greatest security and virus protection. The cost is minimal for the full service support. If you call “Joe’s website and live bait” at 3 AM because your email is down, will he answer? Also, it’s much better than hosting your site in house. That way you don’t have to have an IT person on staff to upgrade server software to accommodate new functions on your site and you don’t have to worry about making sure you have the latest virus software, hardware and security. If you’re not a hosting expert, why become one for one website?

Pretend you have a magic wand and money isn’t an object. Write a list of everything you would want your website to do if money weren’t a factor. Now go back through that list and pick out what are the core functions your site MUST have to make it worth the expense. Start with these. I know that some companies want to sell you extra functionality, bells and whistles. Don’t pay for what you don’t need. Make sure your clients will use the functionality before you spend the dollars. You can always add to your site later.

I’ve seen several companies out their who claim to be “SEO experts”. I have also had clients sign a long term contract with an SEO company that was clearly using outdated methods and was really just a scam to get money. The first sign of fraud is that they have no way to prove results. Granted, some methods take months to show results. In the end you want to make sure you receive some kind of professional reporting (such as Google Analytics) that show’s the number of hits you get from search engines. You also need to check into click-through rates, conversion rates and bounce rates to make sure it is worth your time and money. You can spend a lot of money on the wrong search words and not know it. A reputable company will be forthcoming and have no issue with reporting results in a way you can understand. They should also have some sort of case studies on what results they achieved with other like companies. Believe me folks, this is a science that you can pay a lot of money for. There are several schools of thought and no short answer. Just remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Now get out there and look good.

Chris Motley
Motley Creations
©2008 Motley Creations.

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